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' ' Who gave her Pilgrim Sons a home 
No Monarch'' s Step profanes ; 
Free as the chainless Wmds that roam 
Upon the boundless Plains, ' ' 


^ftectiauatelHgcdicatccX bijtlxe .l^uthov. 



" When at the first I took my pen in hand 

Thus for to write, I did not understand 

That I at all should make a little book 

In such a mode ; nay, I had undertook 

To make another, which, when almost done, 

Before I was aware, I this begun." — John Bunyan. 

!^HE following History of Henderson County has long been an- 
V-.y nounced as forthcoming, but interferences I could not control 
prevented. It was, indeed, commenced several years ago, but its 
prosecution has been frequently interrupted by other occupations and 
embarassments, of which it is, perhaps, out of place here to speak. I 
have been compelled to await the indifferences of people, and, with 
no one to assist me, have discovered for myself that the compiling of 
historical matter, in book form, is a task rather to be '^hunned than 
courted. The labors of this work have been of the sever tand most 
painful and patient character. Through the pity of some, the derision 
of many, the rebukes of others, and with the good wishes of a few, I 
have steadily pursued my course in quiet, to the goal of my ambition, 
and now return gratitude to God for what success has been achieved- 
With no guiding light or compass to direct my researches, I have 
plodded along through a multitude of books and papers, as best I 
could, in search of I knew not what. I have faced a listless auditory, 
and, by perseverance, have revived from the wreck of almost destroyed 
memories, matter that would soon have been lost to the world. 
Doubtless there are many incidents and many sketches of persons 
omitted ; but the fault is not with me. I have advised, I have plead, I 


have done all, and more, too, than I ought to have done, and yet failed. 
The work is now done, and I have endeavored to execute my task 
with candor and fidelity, av(^ding all false coloring and exaggeration. 
In preparing this work, that course best adapted to suit the age, has 
been pursued. The style of the work is not labored, but brief, plain 
and simple, as the purpose in writing it required. I hope it is neither 
barbarous nor ungrammatical, for, though I make no claim to 
elegance, I have endeavored to be correct, concise and intelligible. 
It has been my endeavor to present the series of events in a clear and 
artless form, rejecting whatever was deemed irrelevant, and dwelling 
chiefly upon those features most important. Considering the long 
period embraced, the multiplied number of characters and events 
delineated, the extent of the field covered, the preservation of 
historical unity has been no easy task. If any deficiences are found, 
they ought to be referred rather to the judgment than a willingness to 
spare myself the care and tedium requisite to avoid them. 

That ill-fed and wounded vanity, small envy, jealousy and self- 
inflated opinion may instigate hostility to the work, I expect, but to 
the people of Henderson and Henderson County, the work is 
submitted with a profound deference, and in the hope that it may 
meet with that indulgence accorded works whose destiny has been 
regarded with far less solicitude. In spite of all my efforts to the 
contrary, some typographical errors remain in the copy, but they are 
so obvious that anyone can correct them. 

I have gratefully to acknowledge the assistance of a number 
persons ; particularly, I must mention Colonel E. W. Worsham, Dr. 
P. Thompson, Robert A. Holloway, Walter S. Alves, Charles T. 
Starling, Thos. E. Ward, Larkin White, E. L. Starling, Jr., Ben 
Harrison, Hon. P. B. Matthews, Dr. H. H. Farmer, Thomas Soaper, 
John T. Ruby, Jacob F. Mayer, Geo. H. Steele, L. F. Wise, W. S. and 
C. H. Johnson, Geo. W. Smith, S. A. Young and Hawkins Hart. 




^^ NOTED historian has said that truth comes to us from the past, 
j^ as gold is washed down the mountains of the Sierra Nevadas, 
in minute, but precious particles, intermixed with infinite alloy, the 
debris of centuries. Research teaches that where the suns of many 
decades have shone upon a spot where events transpired among a 
few hardy pioneers, who manifested no solicitude about handing their 
names and deeds down to an admiring posterity, it is a difficult task, 
indeed, to separate from the infinite alloy of narration and traditionary 
lore, the minute, but precious particles, which are the quintessence 
of true history in whatever guise or form it may be given the public. 
Most of the men and women of pristine days seem to have enter- 
tained the idea that events of those times were matters of temporary 
concern, brought about alone for the benefit and amusement of those 
who witnessed and enjoyed them, and not intended for those who 
were to follow after. Written evidence of old events, reminiscences 
of true merit, were not made, or, if made, were not preserved, only so 
far as actual requirements demanded at the time. Even in records of 
a public character, the official in charge deemed it incumbent upon 
himself to write down as few words as possible, and make one sentence 
supply the demands of three. There were many incidents, doubtless, 
in the early settlement of this part of Kentucky, which, had they been 
carefully preserved and handed down from parent to child, would 
to day be treasured as bits of history beyond pecuniary valuation. 
Blood curdling adventures of men and women, privations and suffer- 
ings of the early settlers, who gave their lives that we might enjoy the 
heritage, come to us patched up by traditionary handling until we 
scarcely know whether the story has been magnified or deteriorated in 
its value and truthfulness. 


How strange this is, and yet this generation has gone on and on 
for forty years with the same apparent unconcern. Valuable papers 
have been stored away in ^me secluded corner, where the light of 
day has not been permitted to peep in since the barrel or box was 
tightly closed. Rats and mice have nibbled away valuable matter, 
which, had it been assorted and compiled with a view to its material 
and interesting value, would have proved of invaluable interest to 
many now living, and truly interesting to all persons who love to revel 
with intelligent antiquarians in reminiscences of the forgotten past. 
Yes, many of these old papers, which should have been carefully pre 
served, or better committed on pages, which would have forever pre- 
cluded the possibility of their destruction, have not only been ne- 
glected, but actually cast out to be scattered by the winds to the four 
quarters of the compass. The fiery flames have consumed pages, 
whose ashes have become a part of the dust of the earth ; and, yet, if 
these ashes could speak, they could a tale unfold, whose telling would 
awaken in many a keen interest for a further research into history 
now blotted out forever. 

Old people who had a knowledge of incidents historical, and an 
education equal to the demand, have lived and died without e.ven so 
much as leaving a line whereby their knowledge might be made per- 
petual by some one more impressed with their historical value. 
Whether this can be, and is yet to be, attributed to a lack of interest, 
want of inclination, or whether the information has failed to make a 
deserved impression, is not for the wiiter to say. These negligences 
and ignorances, or whatever they may be called, meet the historian at 
everv turn of his work, and will have to be overcome as best thev can. 
Our readers will certainly exercise as much leniency as we have 
patience in the long, tedious and difficult research, a history of which 


Abinadab's Letters 172 

Aboriginal 23 

Act Regulating Taxes 281 

Additions to To^v^l 304 

Amusements 77 

Annus Miribilis 131 

Arms, taken possession of 204 

Assessment, County and City, 1877 817 

Attorney, Commonwealth . . . .' 103 

" City Impeached. 310 

Audubon's Mill 148 

Banks 150,170 

" Payments 246 

" Charter Wanted 261 

" Commonwealth 263 

" Deposit 342 

" Farmers' . : 221, 224, 31 1, 325, 511 

" National. First 513 

" " Planters' 513 

Barbecue, Gen. Harrison 172 

" Madisonville 241 

Baptising 182 

Battle Year 210 

" New Orleans 142 

Bell, Station House 354 

Bible Society 488 

Billiard Tables 312 

Blacksmith, First 262 

Boat Building 284 

Bonds, City 336-.354 

Royle, (ieo. A. Ordered away 194 

Brass Band, Mechanics 316 

Bradley's Tavern 50 

Boom, 1st, 2d and 3d 150, 188, 312 

Boundary Ohio River 49 

Bridge, Commissioners 177 

" County 117, 121, 126, 186 

Ohio River 350, 370, 505 

Buildings, First 26 

" Old 139, 261, 262 

" Cor. First and Main 349 

Calaboose 298-307 

Capture Michael Sprinkle and others.. . 27 

Cemetery, Fernwood 184, 278, 297, 302 

" Old 278,293 

" Bodies Removed 328 

Census, County 249 

Tenth 201 

Charter, Amended 292, 313 

1854 301 

New 315 

1867 .329 

Cholera 116, 180, 306, 327 

Churches, Baptist, First 429 

■* " African 476 

" " Fourth Street, Col .. . 476 

" Early History 427 

" Catholic 472 

** Christian 433 

" Christadelphian 471 

Episcopal 341,463 

" Israelitish 474 

" German Evangelical 436 

" Methodist 439, 316 

" " African 474 

" " German 474 

" Old Union 282 

■' Presbyterian, First 327, 446 

*' " Second 443 

•' " Mission 462 

" " Sunday School. . 461 

" " Cumberland. 278, 297 

" Pleasant Hill 187 

" St. Barnabas 470 

" Sunday School, Prohibited 318 

Circus, Stickney's 170 

" Floating Palace 306 

Coal, Company 323 

" Mining 161 

" Plague 142 

" Scarcity of 242 

'' Tipple .342 

" Oil 186 

Cold Friday 123,213 

Cold Winter 159, 182 

Comet, Charles Fifth 188 

Compromise City, Alves & Hart 267 

" Alves and Ci ty 307 

•• BuckandCitv 266 

" City and Clark 312 

" City and Burbank 318 

" ■ City and Property Holders. 316 

Conscript 219 

Contrabanding 20!J 

Cordelling Boats 127 

Corn Crop, Ruined 188 

Cotton Grown 130 

Courts, County 100, 101, 102, 103 

Circuit 140 

" Common Pleas 242 

" Quarter Sessions 49 

Quarterly 248 

" Superior 252 

" Terms Changed 243 

*' Rules 125 

" Held in iBaptist'Church.'.'.V.'.*.'.".'.* 79 

Court House, First 50 

Second 74 


Court House, Third 78 

" " How Received 53 

. ■ '• " Soldiers Occupy 83 

" " IMutilation of 83, 235 

Bebuilt r... 84 

*' " Dance Hall 80 

" " Use Prohibited 81 

" " Square 70,107 

County. Kentucky Formed 18 

" " Divided 21 

" Henderson Formed 22 

•' " Organized 48 

" Hopkins Formed 123 

" Union Formed 22 

" Webster Formed 22 

County OflScials 822 

Council, City 302 

" Forced to Resign 323 

" War Order 306 

" New Hall 223, 241, 243 

Creeks, Obstruction of 249 

Crops Destroyed 248 

Crops, Large 187 

Currency, Bogus 147 

Cut, Money 138 

Debt, City Funded 355-356 

Deadened Timber 250 

Dedicatory 3 

Districts, Appellate 182, 243 

" Congressional. i59, 168, 174, 210,246, 252 

" Election 181 

" Judicial 175, 186,256 

" School 159, 166 

" Senatorial... .123, 137, 169. 176, 242, 248 

" Working Road 295 

Distilling 342 

Ditches 275 

Divorce 138 

Draft, Military 212 

Drouth 817 

Duval, Stephen, Whipped 328 

Early Settlers ..17, 26, 27 

Earthquakes 180 

Eastin Survey 299. .301 

Eclipse, Sun 186, 341 

Educational 409 

" Early History 409 

" Catholic 425 

'• Female Seminary 424 

" First School 96 

For Boys 425 

" German School 3.34 

" High School 421 

" ' Home School, for Girls",.. 425 

" Colored School 425 

" Public School 422 

" Schoolchildren 344,351,354 

" Seminary, " Old " 413 

Election, County 218 

" For Mayor 301 

" Interfered With 212 

" Special .323 

" Soldier's Appear 235 

•' Primitive 108-109 

•' Town Trustees 262, 283, 288 

Emancipation, Slaves 94 

Employes R. R. Arrested 344 

Epizootic 349 

Explosion. Steamboat 238 

" Saw Mill 219 

Fair Company 187, 241 

Farm, Values 250 

Fashion, foolish 189 

Fees, cheap 117 

Fence Company, " Horse Shoe" 243 

«.»' Walnut Bend " 248 

Ferries 259 

" Mouth Green River 119 

" Henderson 119 

" Steam 311 

Fevers I6O 

" Yellow, &c — 369 

Fire Companies 294, 350. 351, 354, 370 

Flag of Truce 219 

Fort, "Nigger" 333 

Foster, Col, John W 210 

" Take Charge 210 

War order 306 

" and City Council 321 

" Council Resigned 323 

" Negro Order 211 

France Congratulated 296 

Freedman's Bureau 238 

Friday's ,188 


Fruit, Killed I8I 

Gas Works 313, 324, 330, 333 

Gas, price reduced 370 

Glass Works 276 

Gold Excitement 176 

Green, Marshall & Co 327 

Green River 124, 131, 135, 156, 244 

Guerrillas 214, 225 

KillJim Pool 215 

" In Hebardsville 216 

" In City 215 

Rob Esq. McCallister 216 

•' Gunboats appear 213 

" Stores closed 2I6 

Habeas Corpus 125 

Hancock House 213. 228, 284, 311 

Hard times 162, 261 

Hard cases 105, 122 

Hardscrabble Addition 304 

Harpes. Big and Little 104,623 

Harris, Wra. killed 317 

Hawkin's, shot 225 

Henderson, City of 253 

" Col. Rich, purchase 18, 19 

" Grant taken in 126 

" Laid off 255 

" Incorporated 260 

Health Reputation 169 

High Water 138, 167, 176,209, 248 

Hogs and Town pump 291 

Horse Disease 349, 350 

Hospital, City 296, 350 

Hotel, Spidel 284, 287 

Hot Weather 315 

Hughes & Hovey's Raid 22 

Hurricane 138, 248,311, 316 

Ice House, Public 316, 343 

Insurance I86 

Introductory 6 

Ionian Society 3(V4 

Island, Green River 247 

Island, Tow Head 170 

Jails 65-76 

" Broken 239 

" Mobbed 334 

Killed by Wolves 138 

Knights Templars .369, 491 

Knights Pvthias 369, 499 

Know Nothing Party 184 

Ku-Klux 334-338 

Labor meeting 236 

Land Dispute, City and County 190 

" Located 118,121,123 

" Pirates 280 

'• Laws(1799) 20 



Land Troubles 37 

'• Vacant 58 

" Valueless 99 

Ladies' Complimented 325 

Law, Stock 252 

Lawyers Licensed 94, 12o 

Levy, County 94 

Lien Law, Mechanics 180, 242 

Liquor Selling 116 

Mail. Daily 188, 328 

Manufactories and other Enterprises- 
Banks, Farmers' 511 

" National. Fi rst 513 

Planters 513 

Blacksmithing 519 

Brickmaking and Tile 522 

Bridge, Ohio River 505 

Brewery 518 

Brooms' and Mattresses 519 

Building and Loan Association 520 

Buggies and Carriages 519 

Coal and Mining Co 510 

Same Ice Co 510 

Coal Mines, &c 520-521 

Coal Agents 520 

Coal, St. Bernard Mines 521 

Coal, Ohio Valley 521 

County Roads. . .". 522 

Cotton Mills 509 

Distilling, Hill & AVinstead 517 

Witliers, Dade & Co 518 

Worsham, E. W. & Co 517 

Fair Company .• 522 

Flour and Grist Mills 519 

Foundrv ana Machine Shops 519 

Gas Works 507 

Hotels 522 

Hominy Mills 518 

Incorporated Companies 522 

Lands, Productive 522 

Railroads 514 

Ohio Valley 514 

" Louisville & Henderson 821 

Peoples Homestead and Saving Co 520 

Planing Mill 521 

River Facilities 515 

Saw Mills 527 

Telegraph & Telephone 515 

Tobacco Manufactories 516 

Tobacco Stemmeries 515 

Water Work^^ 502 

Woolen Mills 507 

Marriages, Pioneer 99 

Marshal Town, Impeached 303 

Mayor Atkinson. Message .352 

*'" English. Message 360 

" Held, Message 350 

Starhng. Message 335, 352 

Resigned 303 

Manufacturers Tax 349 

Measurement, Higli Water 818 

Medical Society, State 351 

Meteoric Showers 168 

Mill Burned, Hatchets 226 

Mill Torn down 313 

Mill, Audubon, John J 148 

Mills 97,107, 122 

Milk Sickness 166 

Ililitary. Arms stolen 203 

" Cavalry and Refugees 206 

" Corydon Raid 215 

" Ham G. Williams, arrested 227 

" Henderson Guards 315, 319 

" *' Occupied 208, 210 

Militia 161 

Murray, Gen. E. H 231 

Negro Troops 213. 217, 221 , 224 

" Ohio River taken possession of .. 209 

" Piper Boys, killed 227 

" Police employed 229 

" Soldier, hung at Geneva 225 

Soldiers, (1812) 260 

" S])ottsville taken 221 

'* State Guards 202 

" Troops to Spottsville 203 

Mining Coal Co 368 

McClain's Land Sale 243, 246 

Mob, First 116 

Money, Cut 138 

Monument, L. W. Powell 244 

Mounds 25 

Mound Builders 24 

Mozart Society 820 

Mule and Cart 326 

Musical 820 

Murder, Chas. E. Carr 156 

Murders 819 

Naturalization 156 

Negroes, Emancipated 171. 237 

" Bought and Sold 195, 196 

" Runaway 174 

" Preaching 294, 296 

Traders 195 

Vote 245 

Newspapers 172 

" Columbian 279 

News 214, 216, 219, 234, 242, 821 

Reporter 199,201. 218,822 

" Journal 821 

Nicaragua Expedition 184 

Night Walkers 295 

Odd Fellows 294, 298 

Officials, County 88-289. 822 

Officials, City 370,821 

Offices Consolidated 297 

Opera, "Coopers 315 

Ordinances, Transylvania 255 

" Penal 280 

Printed 292, 342 

Outlaws 26 

Outlaws ana Captain Young 31 

Outlawed 137 

Panic, Jay Cook 351 

Paragon Morgan, died 191 

Paupers, City.. 185, 304 

Pa>iie, Sterling, killed 328 

Petroleum Company 229, 238 

Penitentiary 142 

Pioneer Trials 29 

Physicians, Pioneer 98, 166 

Poor House 184 

Post Office 191-192 

Ponds 279, 283, 286, 306 

Pork House, Inirned 311 

Post Masters 819 

Powder. Bought and Sold 318-319 

Powell, Richard, killed 341 

Precincts, County Divided 157 

Cairo 377 

'♦ Corydon 379 



Precincts, Geneva 382 

" Hebardsville 383 

'• Henderson 245, 253 

•' Niagara 406 

" Robards •* . . 389 

" Scuffletown . . . .- 166, 396 

" Smith's Mills 401 

" Spottsville 403 

Tillotston's 406 

Walnut Bottom 168 

" Voting places 110 


Press Convention 351 

Prisoners Escape 246 

Prisoners Rebel 217 

Proclamation, Mayor 223, 339 

•' Lt. Commander Fitch 214 

Public Square . . . .263, 274, 291 , 297, 310, 325, 334 
Pullty te 304 

Racing Horses 289 

Ravnies 275.286,287, 288,305 

Record Lost 95 

Red Ribbon, orcanized 356 

Relief Board, Southern 242 

Revenue, U. S 243 

Revival, (1794) 34 

River Frozen 137,175, 185, 186, 188 

Roads, Gravel— 

" ( 'ounty to issue Bonds 252 

" Henderson and Cair.) 252 

" *' and Corydon 251 

" " and Zioii 251 

" Public 168, 169,172 

" Clear Creek 56 

" Corydon 58 

" Diamond Island 58 

*' Divided into Precincts 249 

*' Evansville 57 

" Established .54 

" Floyd & Lockett 61-62 

" Knoblick 58 

•' Morganfleld 58 

" Nuisance 63 

" Owensboro and Henderson 183 

" Plank 183 

" Smith's Ferry .54 

" Spottsville..*. 57 

" State 59 

" " To Hopkinsville 60 

" Surveyors 63, 107 

" Tax.... : 245,247 

Railroad 167 

Employes Arrested 344 

'• Evansville & Jackson 247 

" Evansville, Henderson & Nash- 
ville 330. 342, .348 

" Henders(m & Hartford 244 

" Evansville, Henderson & Nash- 
ville 269, 1.39. 300. 302. 308, 314, 316 

" Henderson & Paducah 184 

" Louisville & Henderson 821 

" Right of way. Fourth st 348 

" St. Louis & ^Southeastern 241. 344 

" Same Consolidated 348 

Southern Ky. Narrow Guage 344 

" Street Railway 821 

River Improvement 285 

River Front 294 

Running Association 244 

Salt Discovered 30 

Salt Well 308 

Saw Mill 307, 311 

Sal • ri s 29o 

Seminary. Female 370 

SemniPS Admir? '. 834 

Sheep Dogs 249 

Sheriffalty, Farming out 120 

Shooting. John N. Wathen 230 

Side Walks 298 

Sinking Fund. Commissioners 337 

Sketches and Recollections 523 

Assassination Dr. W. A. Norwood 558 

Dog Supper 567 

Harpe Tragedy 523 

Hanging of Cafr 535 

Henderson & Evansville Packet Co 531 

Louisville & Henderson Packet Co .530 

Military and Quizzicals 561 

Shooting Ben O'Neal. &c 544 

James E. Rankin 547 

Powell and Thompson 549 

Tom Forrest and Comrades 541 

Sinking Steamboat. Maj. Barbour 532 

Belinont... 531 

Suicide of Reuben Denton 532 

" of J. Elmus Denton 72 

" of Misses Mintner 532 

of C\Tithia Majors 533 

of Dr. A. J. Morrison 533 

Skating. Roller 543 

Skirmish. King's Mills 232 

Slander Suit 156 

Slaves 99 279. 289. 290 

Small Pox 287 293 294 

Snow Storm 245 

Social Pastimes 53 

Societies Secret- 
Good Templars 501 

Grand Army Republic 501 

Harugari 501 

Iron Hall 501 

Knights of Honor 501 

' of Pythias 499 

Templars 491 

•' of Labor 501 

Masonic, Blue Lodge — 481 

" Chapter 488 

Commandery : 491 

Odd Fellows 249. 294, 494 

Encampment 498 

r.olored Lodge .502 

Soldiers Revolution 162 

Steamboats 119 136. 141, 149,167 170- 

243 310 350 

Stemmery Burned 327 

Streets opened and Improved. ..260 283 - 
290 295 299 300. .307. 308. 310. 314. 316.- 
.....317 320. .324. 326 328 333 334 337.342, 354 

Supervisors of Tax 364 

Supervisors Report Rejected 364 

Surrender. Confederates 2.33 

Swearing, Profane 105 

Taverns Bradley's 50 257 

Rates Established 92, 162 

Taxes 106, 153, 249, 251, 252. 278, 286 

Telegraph. Cable : 187, 243 

Theatricals 29, 311. 315 

Thespian Society .312 

Tobacco as Currency Ill 

Interest 114 341 

' Inspection 112, 113 

ShortCrop 2.34 

Stemmeries 149 291 

Town Pump and Hogs 291 

Towns Establi.'^hed 157, 169. 171 

Trees Planted 361 



Warehouses, Established 120. 160 

•' Inspection 124 

War Mexico 175 

War. Confederate. .193, 197 201, 234, 237 - 

_ gjy Q|g 

Water Works !...!...!...!. .354! 502 

Water. High 818 

Wathen. John N. murdered 231 

Wards City Divided 301 I 

Weeds Cut down 292 

Well, Town filled up 313 

Wharf ...279 280, 285, 293. 296 298. 299. 300.- 

303 313. 327, 329, 336 

Whipping Slaves 279, 290 

Wolves : i88 

Vaccination. Compulsory 349 


General Index- 

Abbott, William 172 

Adams, George .'."*" . ' 

Adams, Joseph .247, 323 

Agnew, Smith 

Agnew. R. W 

Allen, William 

Allen. J. C *.V.V 216, 

Allen Captain Sam 227* 

Alien. Rev. Wm. G 

Alexander Mark 

Alves, Walter 146 

Alves, James ". . 169, 266," 288! 

Alves, R. H 

Alves, S. J 

Alves, G M V..;344V35i; 502, 

Alves, Wm. J 

Alves Bobt.H....: ... .." 

Allison, Will. D.. 78 82, 278, 283'235V288.- 

299 316 

Allison Young E . . 69.' TO. 82," 84," 190, 213 - 

^ ,V V • •;, 227, 301, 302, 

Allison Sam'l 175 

Anderson, John D 78,'l69, 286! 

Anderson A. J 186 

Artis, C. F 191* 

Anthony Jonathan . . .".'.'.".'.".' ". '66 119' 

Anthony, Jas. W ■ ". 

Atkinson, George 169, 283 29l,'299 

Atknison. Hon. John C 202. 352, 

Atkinson, Edward 500 

Audubon, John J. ...123, 148, i59, 259, 261,' 

Bach, Prof. J. M 756 

Bacon, James 79 

Baily . Cornelius 71 373 423 

Ball Hon. C.C ." ":. '..i, 3?2 

Banks, David 214, 217, 223, 232, 243, 323 

Banks, David, Jr 513 

Barbour, Ambrose 68, 74," 105, 108 

Barbour, Philip 74,120 127 

Barbour, Hal 191 

Barbour, James 260 

Barret, Alex. B....150, 161, 183, 195,'86.V 

....... -...;. 291,292,293 

Barret, John H 236, 331, 766 

Barret, John H. Jr 304, 341 

Barret, James R 304 341 

Barret, Wm. T ' 3IJ 

Barnard, N. H 348 

Barnett, Jacob ' .' 66 114 

Basket, Jesse ' 71 

Bftum, B .".".V.".'.V.*.".'.'.".".*.".".*.".'.".* 216 





Beatty, Gawin I 

Bell, James 

Bell, George E 

Bennett, Wm. E .' ". 190' 

Bennett, Jake "" ' 

Bennett, Judge C '. ',.' 218 

Beverley, Robt. G 2U,'29G, 305,' 

Beverly, Wm. P » . . 

Bierschenk, William 

Blbo, Barnard 

Black well, P. A 70, 323', "342,' 

Blackwell, W. W 359 

Blackburn, Wm. B 

Borum. Joseph •.!.' 

Bowen, Wm. R 

Bowling Family 

Boyle, Gen. J. T 209' 

Bradshaw, Robt. A ' 

Bratton^ Andrew 

Brewster, Dr. Wm ^(^"i' 

Broadnax, Judge Henry P 120, 122' 

Brashear. Barak 67 70 83 

Bristow, Gen. B. H ' ' 

Brown, Hon. Jno. Y 234*236 

Bryce, P. B ' 

Bunch, Hon. Jno. T..*.,', *. 82 

Buck, Charles ' 

Bullitt Family 

Burbank, D R 29i , SOS," sii", "341, 

Butler, Harbison , lee, 

Cabell Family 675 

Cabell, Dr. William 575 

Cabell, Robt 323 

Callender, A. T 724 

Carr. Charles E ;. . ;;;;;.i56; 536 

Catlm, W. W 199 

Cheaney, Josephus '."is9 304 

Cheaney, Thomas F 237 

Cheatham. Edward \aa 

Churchill, W. P ^ 

cisseii Ben.p '...'.'. ::.':::. 236, 334 

Clark. Robert 299 

Clark, David '. .' 351 

Clay, James W V. 30l", '303, 316 

Clay, James F 304, 348, 798 

Clore,Joseph 521 758 

Clore, W. H '758 

Clore, L, F 758 

Clore, J. O '....'..". ".". '.'.'.' '356, "ess. 758 

Coleman, Robert 108 

Collins & O 'Byrne ". 333' 338 


















Comfort, Rev. Daniel 

Cook, Dr. Jno. L 

Cooper, Win. T 

Cottingham, Ishain 

Courteis, Vienginand 

Cowan, Joseph 

Cromwell, F. B 

Crosby, F. H 

Crockett, John W.. .83. 190, 198, 236. 238, 

Cunningham, F 236, 

Cnnningam, 11. H 

Cumnock. W. W 

Dallam, F. H 83, 191, 198, 236, 328, 792 

Dallam, L. C 356 

Danforth. L. F 301 

Danforth, L W 302 

Davies, Rev. D. O 720 

Davis. Chas 9i 

Deacon, Rev. D. H 417, 467, 597 

Delano, Ira 19S 

Denton. J. Elmns <2 

uezarno. John Baptist 131 

Dickens, Charles 174 

Digman.R. H 343. 761 

Dixon, Gov. Archibald... 176. 181, 191, 198,- 

200, 204, 217, 236, 3.34, 348, 575 

DixonV Payne 139, 145, 172 

Dixon, Hon. H. C 588 

Dixon, Dr. Archibald 588 

Dixon, Joe C 229, 590 

Dixon, Capt. Hal : 608 

Dixon, Robert 341, 343. 6 

Dixon, Robert, Jr 679 

Dixon, Geo. L 222 

Dixon, Wynn G 725 

Dodd, J. M 211 

Dorsey,Dr.J. N 7*7 

Dunn, Capt. John 27,95,96,255 

Dunn. Mrs. Hannah 97,107,254 

Dunn', Isaac . . 93 

Duncan, Marion 675 

Duncan, Capt. Joe A 800 

Fades, C.C 84. 85 

Eakin's Family 680 

Eakins, Felix 681 

EaKins, William 684 

Eastin, Henry J 183 

Eas tin, Robert 306 

Eastin, R. Scroggin 753 

Eaves, Charles 347 

Eiam,W.S 191,202,243,341 

Elam, Sam'l 205 

Evans, Rev. Thomas 289 

Fallen George W. 343 

Farmer, Dr. H. H 781 

Featherston, Win 122 

Figis, Konrad 95 

Fisher, Meridith 120, 124 

Fisher, W. P 202 

Fisher, Renz 391 

Fletcher, Thomas 116 

Foard, M. D «. 176 

Foster, Col. John W 210, 213, 320 

Fowler, Judge W. P 218 

Fulwiler, Jacob H 301 

Funk, John 183, 241 

Gayle, George 169 

Gay le , Isaac 292 

Geibel. Konrad 691 

Geibel, John 693 

Gilmour, Allan..., 341 

Gibson, B. F...^t|7. .^I.. 185 

Givens, C . C 671 

Glass, Dr. Owen 283, 315 

Glass, Robt. T 199, 202, 235, 236, 243, 244 

Glenn,Col. Jno 227, 230 

Gobin, Joe. D 293, 296 

Grady, Sam'l William 725 

Grant, J' seph 316 

Graves J ames 149 

Grayson, Wm. P 172, 195, a§8- '^'^'B 

Green, Grant.. .190, 191, 222, 224, 243, 326,- 

327, 333, 606, 610 

Green John 286 

Grimes, Stephen E 156, 535 

Gwatkin, Elizabeth D 171 

Haflev, John 329, 335. 338, 354 

Hall, E. G 202. 316, 321 

Hainmill, Francis 68 

Hamilton, Jas. M 74, 259, 262 

Hamilton Robert 94 

Hanna, Dr. Wm 653 

Hancock. M. S 185, 186, 284, 287 

Ha nes. Big and Little 523 

Harrison, Ben... 232,234,342, 348 

Hart, Richard J 266 

Hart, David - 176 

Ha ' t Family 575 

Hatchitt. James D 183, 216, 236 

Hatchitt, William 412 

Hatchitt. Rev. A 737 

Hazelwood, E. T 82, 190 

Haussman, John 27, 50, 94 

Held , Hon. Jacob 243, 323, 303, 805 

Henderson, Richard 99^788 -' 

Henderson, Archibald 99 

Henderson , Old Dick 819 

Herndon, David 176 

Herndon, Thos. H 279 

Hicks, Wm. S 184, 190, 218 

Hicks, 8. S 205 

Hillyer, James 563 

Hillyer, P. H 186, 263, 283, 299, 323 

Hodge, Dr. J. A 224,225, 721 

Hodge, Thomas 516 

Hoffman, P.... 334 

Holloway, John 68, 114 

Holloway, John G 78,183,186,309, 740 

Holloway. Jas. H 202, 207, 229. 742 

Holloway, John (i. Jr... 210 

Holloway, W. S.... 216, 232, 243, 261,311, 323 

Holloway, Geoije 254 

Hopkins, Saml 45, 51,65, 76, 259, 260 V 

Hopkins. Saml. Jr 74 

Hopkins, Edm'dH.78, 79, 117,285,286,292, 297 

Hopkins, F 229 

Hopkins, W. A 229,247, 330 

Hopkins, Gen, Sam'l.. 99, 103, 106,114,119, 796 

Husbands, John 29, 49, 51, 65, 94, 106, 107 

Husbands, Polly 106. 281 

Husbands, John, Jr 108 

Hutchen, C. W 70, 84, 198, 219 

Ingram, Wiatt 169, 261, 283, 284, 297, 677 

Ingram, Mrs. Jane 308 

Jenkins, T. M 333, 348 

Jenkins, Dr. Anion 808 

Johnson, Charles W 791 

Johnson, Isoni 71, 184, 236 

Johnson, J. M 71 

Johnson, Elliott 

Johnson, Gen. Adam R 218, 713 

Johnson, Wm. S 202, 304, 348 

Johnson, Col. Sam 234, 235 

Johnson, Dr. Thos. J 166 

Johnson, C. H 657 

Johnson, Jas. H 330 

Johnson, Pirant P 754 

Johnston, Eugene 811 

Johnston, Joe. B 807, 811 

Johnston , Philip Ludson 810 

Jones, Fielding 124 

Jones, Dr. Levi 278 



Keach, Richard 84 

Kennedy, A. F 363 

Kerr, Henry 218 

Kerr, Hugh 291 

King, Sam'lE 735 

King, Geo. W ^72 

King, John 260 

King, P.H -. 348 

Kitchen, Dr. N. A 670 

Kleiderer, Fred 356, 695 

Knightj Tlios. S 330 

Knox, Hugh 96, 97, 103, 114, 122, 123, 166 

Kreipke, Fred 356 

Kriss, J. J 83 

Kossuth, Louis 182 

Kuykendall, John 27 

Kuylcendall, Abner 116 

Kuykendall, Amos 116 

Kyie, Peter 727 

Labrey,Wm. E 726 

Ladd, W. H ...323 

Lame, Jesse 85 

Lambert, Joel.. 122, 143, 223, 281, 283, 297, 797 

Lambert, John H 69,298, 301 

Lambert, W.E 190 

Langley, Sam'l W 296 

Landers, Abraham 65, los 

Lancaster, Wm. L 202 

Lewis, W. H 3f.5 

Lewis, H. E 660 

Leslie, A. T 334 

Letcher, Dr. Ben 221 

Lockett,W. M 24i 

Lockett, P. H 70, 8i 

Lockett, Judge J. F 68". 

Lockett , D. P 17() 

Lyne, Jas. B 70, 229 

Lyne, H. James 107, 278 

Lyne, Leonard 162, lej 

Lyne, James, Jr 176 

Lyne, L. H 202, 222, 247, 356, 443. 512 

Lyne, George 640 

Lyne, Henry 301, 511 

Lyne,W. S 640 

Manion, Edward 690 

Marrs, Paul J 233, 64G 

Marshall, W. J 632 

Martin, Leroy 337 

MariinB. F 82, 736 

May, Samuel 21, 26 

Mayer, V. M 205. 501, 807 

Mayer, G. A 275, 806 

Mayer, J. F 422, 505, 807 

Mathews, Hon. P. B 35, 323,329, 372. 655 

McBee, Squire 116 

McBride, Capt. Ed 70, 262, 298 

McBride, Daniel 74 

McCormick, Jno. S 241 

McCullogh, John 173, 412 

McClain, Jas. A .. 212 

McClain, Jackson 71, 813 

McClain, James 166 

McCallister, Aeneas.... 27, 30, 49, 51, 106, 133 

McCaUister, JohnE 215, 334, 356, 617 

McClure, George W 730 

McFarland, Thomas 385 

McLean, Alney 159 

McGary, Robert 116 

McGary, William 116 

McGary, Hugh, Jr 116 

McGary, Hugh 1 16 

McGready, Rev. James 34, 105 

McMullin, John 169 

Merritt, Hon. M 656 

Mitchuson, Ning 694 

Mitchuson, Charles 695 

Morris, George 281 

Morrison, Dr. A. J 315, 533 

Moss, Hugh .' 190 

Mullin , Joshua 173, 287 

Murrell, Jno. A 26 

Murray, Gen. Eli H 231 

Nesler, Solomon 116, 301, 303 

Newman, Jacob 94 

Norris, John S 205 

Norwood, Dr. W. A 558 

O'Byrn, John 348, 363, 739 

Orr, Samuel 277 

0-good,Rev. Nathan 166 

Outlawry 818 

Owen, Hon. J. V... I 739 

Parker, A. F 71 

Pennell,C. M 212, 279, 297, 316 

Perkins, Capt. C. G 216,218,219,247, 749 

Pernet , John 350 

Peter, Hon. Jacob 755 

Pierman , G. L 199 

Pitcairne, Huirh 345 

Point, J. B ...166 

Posey, Gen. Thomas 648 

Posey. Fayette 68 

Powell, James 78 

Powell, Gov. L. W..82, 172, 181, 186, 204,- 

244,290,297, 591 

Powell, Dr. J. N 730 

Powell, Herbert A 190 

Powell, Col. E. D 763 

Powell, J. Henry 304, 765 

Porter, J. W 782 

Prentice, Geo. D 188 

Priest G. M...184, 186, 222,236.240,244,- 

247, 301,330, 333, 342 

Priest, W. C ... 216 

Priest, J. A 71 

Pritchett, Green W 71, 780 

Purviance, Henry 99 

Racing Horses 130 

Ratinsque, Constantine S 156 

Rankin, Dr. Adam.. 26, 66, 114, 117, 120,- 

146, 259, 789 

Rankin, William. 78, 297 

Rankin, Adam , 84 

Rankm, Sam. W 202 

Rankin, James E 216, 219,288, 301, 547 

Reutlinger Wm 337, 3.^ 

Reeve, Mai. Jno. J 654 

Rice, J. Willy 274 

Ricketts, James E 176 

Rice, Dai» (clown) 274 

Robaids, J. D 759 

Robertson, Edmund 183 

Robinson, Jesse 222 

Ross, Moses 300 

Rouse, R.G.Jr 310 

Rouse, H.E 332 

Rouse, James 79, 169, 280, 286, 298, 301 

Ro wdin , A. J 202 

Rowan, Andrew .- 49, 106, 107 

Royster, Wilkins N 737 

Royster,C. S 71,84, 186 

Ruby,J.r 687 

Rucker, M. P 793 

Rudy John 241 

Rudy. C. A 224 

Ruggles, N. F 278, 282 

Sandefur, C. T 222 

Sandefur, W. H 323, 356 

Sandefur, W. A XiO 

Schlesinger, H 216 

Schlamp, Martin 356 

Sechtig, Chris 221 

Semonin, Peter 186, 323 

Semonin, Paul F 310 



Shelby, Moses 96 

Shelby, William W 71, 84, 733 

Shingler, Jack 201, 296 

Shackelford, Gen, J. M 306 

Shook, Major 213 

Simpson, Robert 96 

Smith, Col. Robert 143, 260, 672 

Smith, A. L 412 

Sneed,S.K 304, 356 

Soaper, William 299. 770 

Soaper, Richard H 771 

Soaper, Thomas 334, a51, 773 

Soaper, William, Jr 774 

Soaper, Harry 775 

Soaper, Robert 771 

Spalding, Sam. P 186 

Spidel, John 263, 287 

Sprinkle. Michael 27, 259, 313 

Sprinkle, Jacob 27, 124 

Sprinkle John 66 

Staples, J. G 757 

Stapp, Jno. C 316,330, 342 

Standley, John 66, 139 

Starling, Edmund L 243, 287, 636 

Starling, Chas. T 202, 303, 640 

Starling, E. L....202, 203,204, 247, 337 ,341, 351 

Starling, E. L. Jr 643 

Starling, Stewart 644 

Starling, Lyne 640 

Steele, Wm 229, 238 

Steele, Cjtus 210 

Steele, George 356 

Steele, Capt. O. B 210, 225, 228,* 332, 703 

Stegall, Moses 512 

Stites, Sam'l 276,278,297, 801 

Stewart, Thos. J 643 

Stites, Richard 372 

Stewart, John H 799 

Stone James M 71. 184 

Sublett, John A 278 

Sugg, Calvin 282 

Sugg, Willie 79. 183 

Swigert, Jacob 641 

Talbott, A. H 310, 334,372. 422 

Talbott, Edmund 50 

Taylor, Brookin • . . 107 

Taylor, Maj. Walker 216, 227 

Taylor L. D 287 

Taylor, Jas. M /: 327 

Taylor, James (Two Horse) 297 

Taylor, Col. Chas. M 786 

Terry, N. D 189 

Tillotson, James 192 

Thespians Theatrical 312 

Tliompson, Dr. P , 334, 361.718 

Thornberry, R. R 184 

lowles, Thos. Jr 288 

Towles, Judge Thomas,.. 78, 120,147,261,- 

266, 287, 781 

Tramp, First 131 

Trafton, L. W 191, 204,304, 380, 751 

Toy, J. F 71,80, 84 

Tunstall, H. R 326, 371 

Turner, Hiram 71 

Turner, Hon. H. F. . . .83, 84, 85, 230, 236, . 

241, 330, 348, 732 

Unselt, David H 301 

Upp, John 27, 206 

Urso, Camille 311 

VanBussum, Philip 80, 384 

Vance, S. B... 198,236, 345 

Vandzandt, W. B 298, 299. 305 

Walden, D. N 184,190, 219 

Walker. F.E 70,84, 85 

Walker, Thos. G 122 

Walker, Cora 818 

Ward,Thos.E 784 

Ward, Judge E. C 412,374, 668 

Wathen, John N 230 

Watson, Thos. P 219 

Weaver, Littleberry 80 

Webster, W.H 675 

Williams, Jenks W 223, 3:«, 334, 809 

White, Larkiu 79, 738 

White, John L 205 

White, George 205 

Wigal, James P 789 

Wilhams, John 99 

Wise, D. F 723 

Woodruff, W. B 217, 342, 343 

Worsham, E. W 247, 301, 330. 342, 623 

Worsham, Andrew J 626 

Worsham, Ludson 628 

Worsham, D. W\ C 630 

Worsham, William 631 

Wright, Captain 232 

Woodbridge, Rev. Jahleel 598 

Yarber, Lieutenant 213 

Yates, Capt. Dick 215, 219 

Yeaman, Harvy 198, 202, 236, 247, 347 

Yeaman, Malcolm 349, 356, 644 

Young, Judge Milton 210 

Young, S. A 3 

Young, Milton 697 








©R. COLLINS says the first white person history tells of having 
discovered the Ohio River as low down as Henderson, was Col- 
onel George Croghan, who, in 1765, passed down the Ohio to the 
mouth of the Wabash. Captain Harry Gordan, in 1776, surveyed in 
some crude way the entire length of the Ohio. The land warrants or 
bounty in lands given to the Virginia soldiers, who had served in the 
old French War, were to be located on the " Western Waters," hence 
the military survey so often referred to in title deeds recorded in the 
Henderson County Clerk's Office. 

In the summer of 1774 parties of surveyors led by Colonel John 
Floyd, Hancock Taylor, James Douglas, and two parties of hunters 
and explorers under Captain James Harrod and Isaac Hite, came into 
Kentucky. The town of Harrodstown (now Harrodsburg) was laid off, 
and the settlement of Kentucky began. On Thursday, June 16, 1774, 
Daniel Boone, himself being present and assisting, four or five log 
cabins were built, and immediately and permanently occupied. 




On March 17, 1775, Colonel Richard Henderson (for whom this 
county and city were called) and others, purchased from the Cherokee 
Indians the whole of that territory lying between the Cumberland 
and Kentucky Rivers, amounting to over 17,000,000 acres of land, 
upon which it was evidently his purpose to found a little empire of 
his own; but his object was frustrated by an act of the Virginia Legis- 
lature, which made void the purchase, claiming the sole right to pur- 
chase land from the Indians within the bounds of the Royal Charter. 
The great activity displayed by Colonel Henderson and his co-operators 
in taking possession of the Cherokee Purchase and granting land to 
new settlers, was — as we shall soon see — all set at naught. Daniel 
Boone was employed by Colonel Henderson to survey the country and 
select favorable positions, and early in the spring of 1775 the founda- 
tion of Boonesborough was laid under the title name of Henderson. 

The present State of Kentucky was, prior to December 31, 1776, 
a part of the County of Fincastle, State of Virginia. By an act of the 
Virginia Legislature, from and after that day Fincastle County was 
divided into three counties, Kentucky County being one of the three. 
Kentucky having thus been formed into a separate county, she there- 
fore became entitled to a separate County Court, two Justices of the 
Peace, a Sheriff, Constable, Coroner and militia officers. Law, with 
its imposing paraphernalia, for the first time reared its head in the 
forests of Kentucky. 

In the spring of 1777 the Court of Quarter Sessions held its 
first sitting at Harrodsburg, attended by the Sheriff of the county and 
its clerk, Levi Todd. The first court of Kentucky was composed of John 
Todd, John Floyd, Benjamin Logan, John Bowman and Richard Cal^ 
loway. They had hardly adjourned when the infant Republic was 
rocked to its center by an Indian invasion. The hunters and survey, 
ors were driven in from the woods and compelled to take refuge within 
the forts. Much injury was done, but the forts withstood their utmost 
efforts; and, after sweeping through Kentucky like a torrent for 
several weeks, the savages slowly retreated back to the North, leaving 
the agitated settlers to repair their loss as best they could. 
Virginia's grant to colonel henderson. 
On Wednesday, November 4, 1778, the Virginia House of Dele- 
gates — 

Resolved^ "That all purchases of lands made or to be made of the Indians 
within the chartered bounds of this Commonwealth, as described by the con- 


stitution or form of Government, by any private persons not authorized by pub- 
lic authority, are void. 

Resolved, " That the purchase heretofore made by Colonel Henderson & 
Co., of the Cherokee Indians is void. 

*'But as said Richard Henderson & Company have been at very great 
expense in making the said purchase, and in settling the said lands, by which 
this Commonwealth is likely to receive great advantage by increasing its 
inhabitants, and establishing a barrier against the Indians, it is just and reas- 
onable to allow the said Richard Henderson & Co. a compensation for their 
trouble and expense." 

On Tuesday, November 17th, these resolutions of the House were 
agreed to by the Senate and a few weeks afterwards — 

It was enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia, "That all that tract of 
land situate, lying and being on the waters of the Ohio and Green Rivers, and 
bounded as follows, to wit : 

"Beginning at the mouth of Green River, thence running up the same 
twelve and one-half miles, when reduced to a straight line, thence mnning at 
right angles with the said reduced lines, twelve and one half miles each side of 
the river, thence running lines from the termination of the line extended on 
each side of Green River, at right angles with the same, till the said lines 
intersect the Oliio, which said river Ohio shall be the western boundary of the 
said tract, be, and the same is hereby granted the said Richard Henderson & 
Co., and their heirs as tenants in common, subject to the payment of the same 
taxes as other lands in the Commonwealth are, but under such limitations of 
time as to the settling of the lands as shall hereafter be directed by the General 
Assembly ; but this grant shall, and it is hereby declared, to be in full com- 
pensation to the said Richard Henderson & Co., and their heirs for the charge 
and trouble, and all advantage accruing therefrom to this Commonwealth, and 
that they are hereby excluded from anj^ further claim to lands on account of 
any settlement or improvements heretofore made by them, or any of them, on 
the lands so as aforesaid purchased from the Cherokee Indians." 

Thus by one sweeping act of the Virginia Legislature the pur- 
chase of one million, seven hundred thousand acres of land, from the 
Cherokee Nation, and the great proprietary Government organized 
for its better regulation, was declared null and void, the government 
of Boonesborough wiped out, and the Transylvania" landed estate 
reduced to what was estimated to be two hundred thousand acres. 
This was called the Henderson & Co. Grant. Subsequently this 
grant was discovered to contain only one hundred and sixty thousand 
acres, when in order to gain possession of the full amount, the lines 
were extended a few poles on the three sides. The whole of this 
grant of land is included in the present boundary of Henderson 



The Legislative acts of 1799 were marked by the passage, by the 
Virginia Legislature, of the celebrated " Land Law of Kentucky," a 
historical analysis of which would have but little bearing upon the 
object in view in this publication. It is enough to say it was well 
intended and the settlement and pre-emption features were just and 
liberal. The radical and incurable defect of the law, however, was 
the neglect of Virginia to provide for the general survey of the coun- 
try at the expense of the Government, and its sub-division into whole, 
half and quarter sections, as has been done by the United States. 
Instead of this each possessor of a warrant was allowed to locate the 
same where he pleased, and was required to survey it at his own cost; 
but his entry was required to be so specific and precise that each sub- 
sequent locator might recognize the land taken up, and make his entry 
elsewhere, required a precision and accuracy of description, which 
such men as the surveyors of that day could not be expected to pos- 
sess, and all vague entries were declared null and void. Unnum- 
bered sorrows, law suits, and heart rending vexations were . the con- 
sequence of this unhappy law. 

In the unskillful hand of the hunters and pioneers of Kentucky, 
entries, surveys and patents were piled upon each other, overlapping 
and overcropping in endless perplexity. The full fruits of this were 
not reaped until the country became more thickly settled. The effects 
of this old law can be seen by reference to old land suits, and accom- 
panying depositions filed away in the Kentucky courts, perhaps as 
much for relics of primitive days, as for evidences of titles long ago 
settled and recognized as facts beyond further dispute. The imme- 
diate consequence of this law, however, was a flood of immigration. 
The hunters of the elk and buffalo were now succeeded by the more 
ravenous hunters of lands, in the pursuit of which they fearlessly 
braved the hatchet of the Indian and the privations of the forests, 
The surveyor's chain and compass were seen in the woods as frequently 
as the rifle, and during the years 1778, '80 and '81, the great and all- 
absorbing object was to enter, survey and obtain a patent for the rich- 
est sections of land. Indian hostilities were rife during this period, 
but these only formed episodes in the great drama. The year 1780 
was distinguished by the vast number of immigrants who crowded to 
Kentucky for the purpose of locating land warrants. 


In November, of 1780, the County of Kentucky was divided into 


namely: Fayette, Lincoln and Jefferson. They had now three Quar- 
terly Courts, holding monthly sessions, three Courts of Common Law 
and Chancery Jurisdiction, setting quarter yearly, and a host of Mag- 
istrates and Constables. No court capable for trying for capital 
offenses existed in the country nearer than Richmond, the capital of 
Virginia. The Court of Quarter Sessions could take notice only of 

The year 1781 was distinguished by a still larger immigration to 
the new country. Kentucky being now divided into three counties, 
Fayette, Jefferson anc^ Lincoln, the now County of Henderson formed 
a part of Lincoln In the year 1789 the "people had become anxious 
to have a separate and independent State Government, so, in the 
month of May of that year, they elected delegates to the Convention 
as prescribed in the third Act of Separation from Virginia, and in July 
of the same year the delegates met in the town of Danville, now the 
county seat of Boyle County. 

Their first act on assembling was to draw up a respectful memor- 
ial to the Legislature of Virginia, remonstrating against the new con- 
ditions of separation, which was promptly attended to by that State, 
and the obnoxious conditions repealed by a new act, which necessi- 
tated another Convention to assemble in 1790. 

In the meantime the new National Government had gone into 
operation. General Washington was elected President, and the Con- 
vention was informed by the executive of Virginia that the General 
Government would lose no time in or^anizins; such a regular force 
as would effectually protect Kentucky from Indian incursions. This 
had become a matter of pressing necessity, for Indian murders had 
become so frequent that no part of the country was safe. In July, 
1790, the Eighth Convention assembled and formally accepted the Vir- 
ginia Act of Separation, which thus became a compact between Ken- 
tucky and Virginia. A memorial to the President of the United 
States and to Congress was adopted, and an address to Virginiaj 
again praying the good offices of the parent State, in procuring their 
admission into the Union. Provisions were then made for the elec- 
tion of a Ninth Convention to assemble in April, 1791, to form a State 
Constitution. The Convention then adjourned. 

In December, 1790, President Washington strongly recommend- 
ed to Congress the propriety of admitting Kentucky into the Union, 


and on the 4th day of Februar}^, 1791, an act for that purpose passed 
both houses, and received the signature of the President. Logan 
County, of which Henderson was a part, was one of the first seven 
counties organized immediately after the admission of Kentucky into 
the Federal Union as a State, and in the same year, 1792, was the 
thirteenth in order of formation, made from a part of Lincoln County, 
and embraced all of the States lying south of Green River. In the year 
1796 Christian County was taken from Logan and made a separate 
and independent county. It was the twenty-first county established, 
and comprised all of that territory now claimed by Henderson, Hop- 
kins, Webster, Livingston, Union, Caldwell, Trigg, Hickman, Calloway, 
Graves, McCracken, Crittenden, Marshall, Ballard, Fulton, Lyon, a 
part of Todd and Muhlenberg, and the present County of Christian. 


Seven years after the admission of Kentucky into the Federal 
Union, Henderson County was formed of a part of Christian County, 
and was the thirty-eighth county organized in the State, and named in 
honor of Colonel Richard Henderson. Henderson County, at the time 
of its formation, embraced all of that territory now embraced in Hender- 
son, Hopkins, Union and Webster Counties; Hopkins was taken 
from Henderson in 1806, Union County in 1811, and Webster was 
formed in 1860, of parts of Henderson, Hopkins and Union. 



TF Mr. Collins is correct in his excellent History of Kentucky, mod- 
^ ern Indians never inhabited Henderson County; yet, all along the 
river front, and in many other interior localities of this county, the 
remains of some race of people are found in great numbers. The en- 
tire river front from First Street up five or six squares, seems to have 
been one vast burial ground, as hundreds of skeletons, bones and 
relics have been taken therefrom by excavators in the employ of the 
city. It is generally conceded, however, that the Indians were not 
the aborigines of Kentucky, but that there was, prior to their com- 
ing, a class of white people known as " Mound Builders," who inhab- 
ited the country lying between the Alleghany and Mississippi Rivers. 
Historians and learned antiquaries have proved, so far as tradition- 
ary and scientific evidence is to be taken, that before the Indians were 
those strange, mysterious people of the mounds, who left no literature 
and no monuments except forest-covered earth and stone works. As a 
race they have vanished utterly in the past, but the comparatively slight 
traces they have left behind tend to conclusions of deep interest 
and importance, not only highly probable, but rapidly approaching cer- 

Correspondences in the manufacture of pottery, and in the rude 
sculptures found ; the use of the serpent symbol ; the likelihood that 
they were all sun-worshipers and practiced the rite of human sacrifice ; 
and the tokens of commercial intercourse manifested by the presence 
of Mexican porphyry and obsidian in the Ohio Valley mounds, satis- 
f actorially demonstrate in the minds of antiquaries the racial alliance, 
if not the identity of our Mound Builders, with the ancient Mexicans. 


Their wars were fierce and doubtless long and bloody. They met the 
savages with a determined and skilled resistance, but the attacks of 
their ferocious enemies continued, perhaps throughout centuries, at 
last expelling the more civilized, and the Mound Builders vanished 
from this part of the great country. 

Often, especially for the works devoted to religious purposes, the 
earth has not been taken from the surrounding soil, but has been 
transported from a distance. The civilization of the Mound Builders, 
as a theme, has furnished a vast field for speculation, and theorists 
have pushed into a wilderness of visionary conjectures. It is gener- 
ally agreed by learned theorists that Prof. Short's conclusions may be 
safely accepted — that they came into the country in comparatively 
small numbers at first, and during their residence in the territory oc- 
cupied, became extremely populous. They mined copper, which they 
wrought into implements of war, also into ornaments and articles of 
domestic use. They quarried mica for mirrors and worked flint and 
salt mines. Their trade extended from the Lakes to the Gulf. 

Among all nations, in a simple and rude state, s'tories will be 
found current which pass from mouth to mouth without the least sus- 
picion that they are not absolutely true. They are not written, be- 
cause thfey date from a time when writing was unknown, and the mere 
fact of their being repeated by word of mouth causes a perpetual vari- 
ation in the narratives. In this, however, traditionary evidence respect- 
ing the aborigines of Kentucky, is so well founded in fact, and so well 
corroborated by historical evidence of a scientific nature, as to preclude 
the indulgence of historical skepticism. 


It is undoubtedly true that the Mound Builders at one time inhab- 
ited Henderson County. Dr. Stinson, an old resident of this 

county, and one who has devoted a great part of his life to the study of 
archaeology and archaeological investigations, in a letter written in 1 876, 
says : '* Having examined the camping grounds and graves of the Mound 
Builders of Posey and Vanderburgh Counties in Indiana, and learn- 
ing the peculiarities of burying their dead and disposing of their estates, 
etc., I became anxious to learn whether or not the aborigines of Hen- 
derson were of the same tribe and habits of those of the above-named 
counties across the river. Therefore I came into Henderson County 
and have examined the southwestern portion of it with the following 
results : I find that their mounds are similar, the mode of depositing 
or burying their dead do not differ materially. I visited twenty mounds, 


some of which I dug inlo, where I found some fine relics, and got in 
possession of some excellent historical facts." 

The beautiful niound upon^which is situated Henderson's Tem- 
ple of Justice, has been the subject of debate for man}' years, a num- 
ber claiming that it is a natural mound, while many others claim it to 
be the work of the Mound Builders Tradition has it that this hill or 
mound in its originality was perfectly shaped, gently and gracefully 
slopmg from its apex to its base, but that the rude hand of the con- 
tractor, under the supervision of cruelly tasteless engineers, caused 
its symmetry to be butchered on two sides. This mound at one time, 
undoubtedly, sloped in every direction from its summit, as it does now 
in the direction of Main Street. It is well known, also, that there 
were a great number of ponds in close proximity to this place, as well 
as in other parts of the town. Couple this, then, with the historical 
fact that the Mound Builders did not confine themselves to the taking 
of dirt from the surrounding soil, but in the building of what they 
termed their sacred mounds, transported the soil from a long distance, 
one must at least become reasonably impressed with the belief that 
this most beautiful spot was the handiwork of that strange people, 
who have long since lost their identity, and not the work of Noah's 
waters, or any subsequent upheaving of the elements. It is, perhaps, 
quite true that our " Justice Hall " stands upon ground once conse- 
crated to the peculiar worship of the aborigines. 


There are other mounds in the county and from them have been 
gathered many interesting relics of antiquity. Upon the lands of the 
late Colonel A. H. Major, several miles above the city, is a mound of 
which the following notice was made several years ago. 

"In digging upon these lands numerous skeletons, supposed to have been 
aborigines, were found. Colonel Major and D. R. Burbank, conducting the 
search, are quite of the opinion that this was never an Indian burial ground, 
but ofa people who inhabited the country prior to the coining of the Indians. 
Manv articles of peculiar beautv and marked curiosity have been found, among 
the number pipes, bowls, cooking utensils, weapons of war, and evidences of 
military and official rank. In one grave was found three skeletons, the two 
smaller ones, supposed to have been femaies, sitting upon the larger one, 
supposed to have been a male, and in the mouth of each was found a pipe. 
This place must have been the burial ground ofa populous race of people, for 
the quantity of teeth found has never before been equaled," 

On the farm of A. J. Anderson, in Diamond Island Bend, are 
many mounds, four of which stood above the high water of 1883, the 
highest ever known. The ground upon which his house stands is a 


mound, and in 1854, when digging for clay for the purpose of making 
brick, thousands of bones were found and many remarkable relics, in- 
cluding glass trinkets handsomely carved. In addition to this, a lump 
of lead three inches square was found. Mr. Anderson is satisfied in 
his own mind that his place was never an Indian burial ground, but 
that the bones and relics belonged to a race of people living here long 
before the Indians. 


The first white people of whose history anything is known, con- 
nected with the prestine settlement of Henderson County, were a set 
of graceless outlaws noted for their wicked deeds and incomparable 
attrocities. It cannot be said that they claimed the " Red Banks " 
as a permanent home, for their lives were devoted to wild adventure, 
thievery and murder in all their manifold sins and wickedness. These 
men were the Mays, Masons and Wilsons, headed by the notorious 
John A. Murrell and Samuel May. Their rendezvous was on the 
bank of the river, and while here made it their business to rob boats 
floating upon the river, and, frequently, murdering the crews. This 
was their headquarters, and robbing boats their occupation up to the 
time Captain Young and his company (who had organized for the pur- 
pose of driving them out of the country) appeared in the neighborhood. 
For a number of years John A. Murrell camped at times upon the iden- 
tical spot where the residence of A. J. Anderson now stands, opposite 
Diamond Island, and gave to that place the poetic name it yet retains 
— " Forest Home." After the appearance of Captain Young, the clan 
then located at or near Cave-in-Rock, 111., where they continued to 
pursue their nefarious avocation. 


Prior to the formation of Henderson as the thirty-eighth county 
in 1798, there were but few settlers south of Green River. The first 
permanent settlement, of which any knowledge is had, was made above 
the Red Banks — now Henderson — on Richard Henderson & Co.'s 
land in the year 1791. These setclers, or a majority of them, were 
Germans, therefore to that people may be accorded the credit of the 
beginning of Henderson. During the fall of 1791 two or three fam- 
ilies located above the now City of Henderson, on the ground which 
has borne for years the historic name of Hughes' Field. Finding this 
ground to be low and marshy, they packed up and removed here as a 
better site for building a village. Immediately after landing they com- 
menced, with what tools were then at their command, chopping from 
•the immediate forests surrounding the river bank, logs suitable for 
building such huts as would protect them from weather and make 


them comfortable. When a sufficient number of logs had been gotten 
together, they commenced the building of a row of block-houses, or 
cabins, after the primitive stylefon the river bank, extending from the 
present site of Clore's Mill, at the foot of Sixth Street, down to the resi- 
dence of Dr. A. Dixon, at the foot of Powell Street. At that time 
there was a strip of territory one hundred and fifty feet in width lying 
beyond the present northwestern boundary of Water Street, and on 
this ground is where the first buildings in Henderson were located. 
From the gradual washing of the river most of that territory has dis- 
appeared. That part of it between Second and Third Streets was 
removed in building the present wharf. 


here were Michael Sprinkle, John Upp, William Smith, father 
of William Finely Smith, John Husbands, John Haussman, Jacob 
Sprinkle, John Kurkendall, Eneas McCallister and John Dunn. 
During the year 1792 Captain John Dunn was appointed Constable 
for this territory. Eneas McCallister, grandfather of the late John 
E. McCallister, was detained here with his family by the ice, while 
enroute from the Cumberland River country to Pittsburgh, Penn. 
There were not more than half a dozen little log cabins on the bank, 
and two of these found vacant by Mr. McCallister were taken pos- 
session of and occupied by him and his family. 

There were no Indians at that time to be seen on this side of the 
Ohio, but on the Indiana side were to be found several tribes, among 
the number were the Shawnees, from whom Shawneetown derived its 
name. . They were very troublesome at times, and as heartless as 
troublesome. A party of young boys, of whom were Michael and 
Jake Sprinkle and John Upp, armed for the purpose of hunting, 
crossed the river in canoes, never once suspecting that Indians were 
in that vicinity, and upon landing were surprised by a party in am- 
bush, two of them captured, one shot down, the fourth being an expert 
swimmer, and under providential favors, made his escape back to 
Kentucky. The two captives were tortured in many ways — they were 
made to walk forced marches, then beaten with many stripes, and 
finally, after having undergone a terrible journey, bare-footed and 
almost naked, marched into Sandusky, on Lake Erie, from whence, 
after having lived a most frightful life, they escaped, and some time 
afterward arrived at the Red Banks, to the joy of their kin and 


Among the traditions of the country we are told that many years 
anterior to the advent of the surveyors employed by Richard Hen- 
derson & Co., and even until the cessation of the annual fires, which 


used to sweep the earth fore and aft, this country, from the begin- 
ning of the low lands which encircle the city, was a vast prairie or 
barren, extending as far as the eye could reach. Indeed, many set- 
tlers now living, who came to this county long since the advent of 
the present century, remember when the greater part of the county 
was a barren territory. There was no timber only along the creeks, 
water courses and marshy places. This continued for many years 
until a swamp of scrubby oak took possession of the land, and from 
this beginning a magnificent growth of timber, including the hickory, 
ash, gum, elm, maple, poplar, sugar, sugar maple, oak, catalpa, wal- 
nut and sycamore grew up luxuriantly over the entire country. 
During these early times the whole face of the country was covered 
with hazelnut bushes, pea-vines, wild strawberries, blackberries, and 
a variety of other kinds of wild fruits. Above and below the then 
villiage of Henderson, the country was one dense cane-brake, afford- 
ing an abundance of the best food for cattle, which were driven on m 
large numbers. There were no Indians to be seen except a few 
friendly ones passing through. 


The hillsides and valleys were thickly populated with wild ani- 
mals, such as wolves, wild cats, panthers, deer, and very frequently 
a large bear would be seen. Turkeys, geese, ducks, pheasants, 
squirrels, rabbits and other wild game of the smaller species were 
here in seemingly inexhaustible numbers. Vlr. Payne Dixon, who 
came to Kentucky and located near Henderson in 1805, in a most 
interesting conversation with the writer, indirectly mentioned the 
fact of having seen, a short time after his arrival, a set of elk horns 
remarkable for their size and length. These horns, when placed 
with their tip ends down, would admit a man five feet in height 
walking between the prongs and underneath the skull, without touch- 
ing it or bending his body. Among the winged birds, found at that 
time in great numbers, were those which are at this time total strang- 
ers to his country. They were the paroquet, a species of parrot, but 
of much handsomer plumage, the raven, a bird made famous by 
Edgar A. Poe, and many others, noted for the peculiarities of their 
plumage. As the country gradually developed and became populated 
the birds migrated to wilder lands. 

In those days game was very plentiful, a large buck of fine flesh 
could be purchased for the small sum of fifty cents, while turkeys 
were given away. No apprehension was felt concerning a knawing 
stomach, for the abundance of wild game insured a week's supply at 
any time in a half hour's walk from the door of the cabin home. As 
long as there was powder in the house and lead in the pouch, the 
pioneer little worried or thought of hunger ever staring him in the 
face, but kept his shanty stocked with meats which now command 
fabulous prices. 




^;* HE few pioneers who had settled here were, a few years afterwards, 
^^ reinforced by the incoming of the ancestors of many of the 
best families now living, among whom were the Hopkins, headed by 
General Samuel Hopkins, agent and attorney, in fact for Richard 
Henderson & Co., the Bells, Andersons, Holloways, Talbotts, New- 
mans, Barnetts, Ashbys, McBrides, Fuquays, Rankins, Hamiltons and 

About this time all of this section of the country, to the Ten- 
nessee line ^nd including a great portion of the territory north of 
Green River, was infested and completely overrun by a band of noto- 
rious murderers and thieves, who proved a terror to the better class 
of people. Among this class of outlaws were the Harpes, the Masons, 
the Wilsons, the Mays, of whom mention has been made, and many 
others, who were not the avowed, but were the secret friends and 
abettors of the outlaws. These fiends incarnate, thirsted for blood ; 
they rode the forests through and through, fearing neither the power 
of God, nor the defense of the settlers. At that time cabins were far 
apart, and they connected only by paths and trails. For the settler 
to attempt a defense by the use of fire-arms, was but an invitation to 
murder, and to undertake a union of forces at any time for the purpose 
of combining against the outlaws, was as useless as it was next to 
impossible. Therefore, many men, solely, for self-preservation, were 
forced to become apparent friends of these people. Outlawry was at 
high tide, and deeds of violence, shocking to civilization, were perpe- 


trated with as little concern as though regulated by law, and carried 
out by authority of the courts. A half hour's ride in any direction 
would place the highwayman out of the range of primitive danger, and 
safely away in a territory where they could not be found with a double 
microscopic search warrant. For this reason, then, they were to be, 
and were greatly feared by all honest men. The better class in those 
days were in the minority and had to content themselves and keep 
absolutely quiet in the enjoyment of their possessions, and in the occu- 
pancy of a purely neutral position. 


One of the greatest privations the early settlers had to contend 
with was the great lack of salt. For months they were compelled to 
do their cooking without this necessity, and oftentimes forced to ride 
hundreds of miles over a wild and untraveled country to obtain a 
small sack, for which a fabulous price was charged. Accounts now 
in possession of the writer furnish conclusive evidence of this import- 
ant fact. Ten dollars per bushel was often paid, to which had to be 
added the loss of time and the long and dangerous journey made to 
secure a small supply. From old records it would seem that this 
commodity passed current between men, and in very many instances 
was taken in exchange for land and stock. It was also frequently 
given in exchange for labor and merchant accounts. In 1794, exter- 
nal evidences suggested beyond question, the existence of salt water 
in many parts of the county, and the feasibility of utilizing it so as 
to supply the wants of the settlers. Hunters and surveyors traversing 
the woods and barrens in search of game and boundary lines chanced 
upon buffalo trails and narrow paths, beaten by the hoofs of deer, and 
following them discovered what was known as "licks." These licks 
were frequented by large numbers of wild animals, and as an indis- 
putable evidence, hillsides were found to be undermined by the lick 
of wild tongues, and numerous holes yet moist were found there to 
attest the presence of a briny substance. Upon closer and more 
accurate examination, the clay was found to consist of a strong part 
salt, and this determined some of the more enterprising settlers to 
venture an enterprise which subsequently resulted in one of the great- 
est blessings to the new country. 

Eneas McCallister, grandfather of the late John E. McCallister, 
Esq., having discovered one of these licks on Highland Creek, about 
twenty miles from the Red Banks — now Henderson — much frequented 
by buffalo and deer, conceived the idea of boring for salt water. He 
at once proceeded to sink a well, and at a short distance found water 


of very great strength in abundance. He erected here salt works, and 
in a short time was able to supply all those living at the Red Banks, 
the adjoining neighborhood, and^-for many miles surrounding. He 
continued to manufacture salt at this point for the term of three or 
four years, at the end of which time parties from Virginia appeared 
upon the ground, not only asserting, but proving a better title to the 
land under the laws as then understood. With these undisputable 
evidences staring him in the face, Mr. McCallister immediately dis- 
possessed himself and soon after located other wells three miles east 
on Highland Creek, at a point then and yet known as the "Knob 
Lick." This soon became a noted locality, so much so that the most 
important public road running south of west from the Yellow Banks, 
now Owensboro, was directed to that point. In the formation of 
Webster County in 1860, this spot was included within the boundaries 
of that county, and can be found three or four miles to the right of 
Sebree City. 

At the Knob Lick, Mr. McCallister found a stream of water 
equally as strong as the one he had left at Highland Lick, and here 
salt was made as well as at Highland until the year 1827, when both 
wells, from some unaccountable reason, ceased to flow, and the works 
were abandoned. 

Simultaneously with the enterprise of Mr. McCallister, salt was 
made in large quantities at the Saline Wells in the Illinois Territory 
by Captain James Barbour, of Henderson. Much of the salt used by 
the early settlers of Henderson County was obtained from these 
works, they going and returning on horseback, with two bushels or 


During the year 1799, the outlaws, of whom mention has before 
been made, had increased in numbers, daring and villiany. They rode 
over a large territory of country, embracing the entire Green River 
section, extending as far northeast as Mercer County, and met with 
no resistance adequate even to their discomforture. They were guilty 
of hell-born iniquities, which would put to blush the demoniacal 
deeds of all ignorance and vice which had preceded their adventure 
into the new country. They were the terror of terrors, and so much 
to be dreaded, that Captain Young, a dashing commander, with a 
number of equally brave men of Mercer County, armed themselves 
and determined at all hazards, to drive the villains from the country. 
Mounted upon fiery chargers of blood and metal, and armed with the 


best weapons the country afforded, this body of liberty-loving, impet- 
uous troopers, rushed to the deliverance of their country and friends 
from this organized clan, not actuated by any lion-like temptation to 
spring upon their victim or to satiate a long settled and deadly hate, 
but a clan organized to glut a savage vengeance unknown to the most 
heartless red man. The life they led, was one of hire and salary, not 
revenge — it was the counting of money against human life. It was not 
only the counting of so many pieces of silver, against so many ounces 
of blood, but it was a life of inhuman nature, enveloped in depravity, 
intensified in all of its paroxysms of crime. Murder, coupled with 
robbery, or murder alone seemed to have been the actuating impulse 
of this Godless clan. The innocent, the weak and harmless, the sil- 
^very locks of decrepit old age, the golden tresses of sweet infancy 
and purity of charming maidenhood, served as no paliating medium, 
but these met the same fate as did hardy manhood. All, all, who 
fell in the way of these highwaymen were sacrificed to satisfy their 
thirst for blood, and died examples of the barbarity of incontinent 
brutes and fiends. To capture or slay these, was the ultima-thule 
of Captain Young, and his men, and nothing short of a sad and ser- 
ious reverse, a grand and overwhelming victory for the outlaws, could 
check them in their most holy, lawful and natural expedition. 

A bright sun shone upon their departure, the blessings of the peo- 
ple followed them, the sweetest smiles and cheering words of female 
beauty greeted them and bade them God speed. The eolian whis- 
perings of the winds cheered them on, the forests echoed, clear con- 
sciences and a firm faith in the right and their ultimate triumph, 
strengthened them. In all of their adventurous plans and perilous 
surroundings, they recognized the coadjutant power of the Almighty, 
in whose good will they most implicitly relied. Captain Young and 
his men recognized the perils of their undertaking ; they understood 
the wily machinations of the enemy, and with blood for blood emblaz- 
ened upon their banner, started upon their mission of capture or 
death, utterly regardless of their own personal comforts or the hard- 
ships attending a campaign in such a wild and comparatively un- 
marked country. 

Exasperated by new stories told them as they passed on in search 
of the outlaws, the feelings of the patriots became more and more in- 
tense, and to slay an outlaw was an act commending the slayer to pro- 
motion. None of the sympathetic cords were to be touched, no re- 
pentance or contrition, no changing of minds firmly purposed, but the 
keenest ambition was to come in rifle range and then to unhorse the 


fleeing malefactor. To apply the knife to the throat of one of these 
was to be a favor graciously embraced by any one of the command. 
So determined was Captain Young and his men, Mercer County was 
soon delivered, and the outlaws fleeing for the south side of Green 
River, many of them, however, were killed before reaching Green 

Captain Young was not satisfied with the great and good work 
that had been done, but determined to pursue the villains until the 
last one of them was made to bite the dust, or flee for safety to some 
other more congenial territory. To this end, therefore, he crossed 
Green River into what was then Henderson County, and it is asserted 
as a positive fact that twelve or thirteen outlaws were killed in this 
county. The citizens who had been so long under the terrible voke, 
gave him all the aid possible and Henderson County was soon free. 
The mission of this God-serving band of brave and true men was ex- 
tended through Henderson on down as low as what was known as 
'* Flin's Ferry'- and " Cave-in-rock," on the Illinois side of the Ohio 
River. This place, it was said, and most generally known, was the 
headquarters of a numerous gang of Jack Shepard cut-throats, who 
had appointed it as a place of rendezvous, where they kept supplies 
for flatboats descending the Ohio. Here they held high carnival, 
engaged in their debauches and planned raids upon the surrounding 
country It was a secret hiding place, wild and frightful and danger- 
ous to attack. When rendezvous in sufficient numbers they frequently 
attacked flatboats, murdered the crews and floated the boat on to 
New Orleans on their own account. 

This raid of Captain Young was the first check ever given the 
outlaws, and for a time broke them up almost entirely. It was soon 
followed by the killing of the notorious Uriah, or Big Harpe, and the 
flight of Little Harpe, Mason and others, to the territory of Mississ- 
ippi, where they and their co-operators were killed by each other, or 
captured and hanged by the law. Captain Young and his men re- 
turned to Mercer, receiving the plaudits of the people, and were ever 
afterward remembered in the prayers of those few settlers who had 
lived in indescribable suspense. The country, though thinly settled, 
was now brought to a state of quiet security, every face beamed in 
the hallowed evidence of liberty and freedom of speech, which had so 
long been denied them, and honest men soon became outspoken 
while the over-timid and secret abettors of the outlaws couched 
lances with them in heralding the good name and daring deeds of 



Captain Young and his glorious little squad. The outlaws had no 
friends now. 


It seemed as if by special divine will, that a yet greater check 
was to be given any future life of theirs in the Green River country^ 
This came in the shape of a great religious revival, certainly the most 
wonderful and remarkable ever known prior to that time, and per- 
haps ever known since. Religious interest manifested itself in a most 
magical way, sweeping* like a prairie flame, and extending its in- 
fluence in every direction. The entire Green River country, beginning 
with Warren County, was affected with this wonderful contagion. In 
those days there were very few, if any church buildings, and the pop- 
ulation small and very much scattered. No matter, this excitement 
seized the entire population, permeating every nook and corner of the 
counties, flying here and there with all the indications of an incom- 
prehensible outbreak. These were the days of the great divine, Rev. 
Jas. McGready, whose strong preaching drew hundreds around him, 
and engaged their earnest work in behalf of the Master and His 
Kingdom on earth. Camp meetings became the order of the day, 
often continuing for a month or more. These meetings were attended - 
by people who had come from fifty to one hundred miles away — 
not curious amusement seekers, but men and women who had heard 
and had come to be taught and learn. They were bent upon more 
light and grace spiritually, than they had ever been enabled to gather 
from the solitude of a wilderness life. When assembled the body was 
a large one, a grand one, and great numbers, indeed a very great ma- 
jority, connected themselves with the church. Among that astonish- 
ing number of converts were many who had been suspected of being 
the secret abettors of the outlaws, but, notwithstanding the repulsive 
taint attaching to their moral character, they were welcomed into the 
church and did afterwards become respectable and useful citizens. 

These meetings were conducted by eminent divines, the most 
noted of whom was the Rev. James McGready, then came Revs. Ran- 
kin Hodge and William McGee, Presbyterian preachers, and John 
McGee, a brother of the last named gentleman, who was a Methodist 
preacher. In addition to these the Rev. William Barnett, of that part 
of the country, now known as Caldwell County, frequently officiated. 
Mr. Barnett was a remarkable man, and in addition to his wonderful 
pulpit and revival powers, is said possessed a voice absolutely sur- 
passing belief. 


Hon. Philip B. Matthews, to whom I am indebted for much of 
the foregoing interesting recollections of early times, affirms that he 
could be heard and understood at a distance of one mile- 
It was at these revivals a disease — if it may be so called — farsical 
in its intervention and never before known, manifested itself. This 
anomalous evidence of regeneration — a sample of faith never before 
witnessed, a disease pedantic in its form — partook of an impassioned 
restlessness, then the tremors, then the wriggles, then the shakes, 
then the flounders, then the staggers, and then the whole epileptic 
catalogue of nervous jerks, seized the victims, while the victims seized 
the nearest saplings and exerted herculean powers seemingly to un- 
hinge themselves. This very remarkable outcropping of religious 
fanaticism permeated the entire camp, creating among many a con- 
siderable deo^ree of alarm. The whole country became christianized, 
and. society, law and order became the gainers thereby. 

At this time and a little after, there was an influx of most desir- 
kble immigrants from other States. The Dixons, Alves, Harts, Cow- 
ans, Hillyers and others, from North Carolina; the Towles, Cabells, 
Subletts, Townes, Terrys, Wilsons and Atkinsons, from Virginia ; 
John J. Audubon, from Louisiana, and the Ingrams, Herndons and 
others, from Central Kentucky. The population had not only in- 
creased greatly in numbers, but the improvement in morals and in- 
telligence became very noticable. Henderson society, at that early 
day, would compare favorably with any in the West, and the deeds of 
violence which had been so frequently committed in the still earlier 
settlement of the county were of rare occurrence. 



TN addition to the activity of General Samuel Hopkins in disposing 
-*- of the lots and lands of the proprietors and inducing immigra- 
tion, it must be said that the representatives of the young State were 
awake to the importance of the times, and if Kentucky lagged, no 
fault could be laid at the door of the capital. Numerous difficulties, 
however, pressed hard around the faithful pioneers — ignorance of the 
country, of the laws, and, above all, a lack of education. The great 
difficulty of communicating with the seat of Government, and the fact 
of being shut out from the few news centers of the world, were obsta- 
cles which our forefathers were compelled to contend with. 

In the settlement of disputed land claims, to bring order out of con- 
fusion, rightful owners of lands located and improved were oftentimes 
dislodged by the projected intrigues of designing sharpers. Survey- 
ors were not so expert in those days, nor were the instruments used 
so faltless in design and manufacture as at this day. Erom these, and 
other causes, many of the early settlers became disheartened and re- 
turned to their former homes, or else emigrated to other parts of the 
country. Notwithstanding these drawbacks and innumerable uncer- 
tainties of breaking up homes in a settled State and removing with 
the winds, to one wild and comparatively unknown ; notwithstanding 
the trials and perplexities to be surmounted in traveling over the wild 
and yet uninhabited territory, the population continued to increase. 

Glorious stories of the flower-land were carried back to the At- 
lantic States, until many of the inhabitants, impressed with the im- 
portance of the new territory and the abundance in store for those 


who would seek it, determined one with another to emigrate and 
share with those who had preceded them, the riches of that charming 
land. With a horse and wagon, a buggy perhaps, a faithful wife and 
children, a dog and a gun, many ventured to leave their Eastern 
homes in search of this new land upon which it was said nature had 
lavishly showered its richest blessings. Young men, and old ones — 
who had but a few years at best to live — plodded along over mountains 
and through valleys, through forests and cane-brakes, unmindful of 
the dangers attending their every step. The women, undaunted, but 
as brave and fearless as the men, trudged their way, sharing those 
trials and dangers incident to the pilgrims' progress — in many in- 
stances of State history — exhibiting such marked courage and disre- 
gard of self-comfort and safety, in the face of dangers, as to nerve 
and strengthen their male protectors who were leading them to this 
great land of promise. 


New difficulties gathered around the settlers as the population 
increased. Every fellow of them had come for land, and land he 
would have, no matter how it was to be gotten. Of course there 
were those among the number punctilliously honest, yet there were 
in those days, as there are now, '^ man sharks,'^ keen-witted, and un- 
scrupulous men, who, regardless of the rights of the weak and igno- 
rant, and impressed solely and alone with the one aim of feathering 
their own nests, resorted to all manner of legal and social technicali- 
ties, to possess themselves of what was not their own, and to dispos- 
sess those of weak and unguarded business capacity of what properly 
belonged to them. Squatters, the pests of all early settlements, be- 
came abundant, and to this day their impudent but successful chican- 
ery is felt by the descendants of many of the early settlers. In many — 
very many — instances, rightful owners of lands were non-residents, 
and their agents were either self-interested and unscrupulous, or else 
neglected the important trusts committed to their keeping. Settle- 
ments were permitted to go by default, squatters were permitted to 
locate second warrants, and so on until lands were cut up into serpen- 
tine shape, while title boundaries became outrageously entangled. 

To straighten these rascally-worked boundaries, in order to allot, 
to the honest settler what • was due him, necessarily entailed an ex- 
pense perhaps greater than the value of the land in controversy. None 
of this was the fault of the law, although it has been frequently charged. 

From 1792 to 1831 the Legislature of Kentucky, by the- passage 
of many acts encouraging and granting relief to settlers, not only 


evinced a marked interest in the population of this section, but did all, 
and more too,than they ought to have done to aid and encourage immiga- 
tion. Every inducement, both hl^eral and explanatory, was freely offered, 
and the settler who- moved in the dark owed his ultimate misfortune 
to his own ignorance, loseness, or over-confidence in his better posted, 
and, perhaps, perfidious neighbor. Thus, as a result, land suits multiplied 
and misery and untold disappointments were piled upon many who 
had surrendered comfortable homes to come to this new paradise. No 
one can but feel for these hardy old pioneers, who sacrificed upon the 
altar of ignorance and misguided confidence, all they possessed of an 
earthly competence, to assist in clearing up and opening to the world 
this now productive and wide-awake country. These men faced dan- 
ger in all of its manifold forms ; they suffered privations untold, that 
their descendants might inherit the richness of their labors, and 
yet these " man sharks,'" backed by this same law, intended to pro- 
tect the weak as well as the strong, swallowed up the loose and unsus- 
pecting with a keen relish. 

Tradionary and documentary evidences tell the story of many 
lords of the land, who moved in disingenious shabbiness, and w^hose 
intemperance and sensuality were not more reprehensible than their 
grasping greed for things not their own. As before stated, the Legis- 
lature had passed, and continued to pass, act upon act, many of them 
acts explanatory of acts and intended to aid the settler : acts for the 
extension of time, for locating surveys, for filing necessary papers, for 
the payment of fees, and for relief in many other ways, were passed 
at every session of the General Assembly. The laws were as plain 
as laws could be made; the system laid down was as beautiful in sim- 
plicity as it was simple in every feature, and had the people followed 
as directed, there never could have been any reason for a single dis- 
pute or land suit 

It is said the primitive- settlers — the very first who came to this 
section of Kentucky, were men of some education and some means ;. 
most of them were in the decline of life however. The second gen- 
eration, owing to the unsettled condition, and the positive want of in- 
struction, even in the primary branches of education, grew up as the 
cane, and from this ignorance arose the troubles of various complex- 
ions, including vice and immoralities, which proved to be a draw-back 
to the rapid development and growth of the section. The surveyors 
and others appointed to aid the settlers in locating land surveys 
granted them, were ignorant men. Upon a close study of the laws 
from the time of the separation from Virginia to the time all needful 


laws, having for their object the untangling of bungling misapprehen- 
sions, and establishing a simple and harmonious system in the future, 
had been enacted, we are satisfied that it will be agreed that the Leg- 
islature did all that it could do under the circumstances to aid and 
enlighten the settlers. 

Beginning with the year 1779, it will be seen that all of the land 
lying between the Green and Tennessee Rivers, from the Alleghany 
Mountains to the Ohio River, except the tract of two hundred thou- 
sand acres granted to Richard Henderson & Co., had been reserved 
by the State of Virginia for tlie officers and soldiers of the Virginia 
State line, or continental and State establishment, to give them choice 
of good lands, not only for the public bounty due to them for military 
service, but also in their private adventures as citizens. No persons 
were allowed by law to enter any part of the said lands until they — 
the officers and soldiers, had first been satisfied. -Notwithstanding 
this reserve, guarded as it was by authority of enactment, many per- 
sons in their hurry to squat upon some of this land of promise, actu- 
ally settled upon this reservation, thereby jeopardizing the preference 
and benefit intended by the State of Virginia and concurred in by 
Kentucky. Therefore, as a consistant remedy, in October, 1779, the 
General Assembly of Virginia enacted an ultimatum seemingly hard 
upon the pioneers between the two rivers, yet in strict conformity with 
other acts passed prior to that time. By this law, all persons settling 
after that date upon the lands reserved for the officers and soldiers, 
or those who having already settled thereon, who failed to remove 
from the said reservation within six months from next after the end 
of that session of the Assembly, should forfeit all his or her goods and 
chattels to the Commonwealth, and for the recovery of which, the 
Attorney for Virginia, in the County of Kentucky, for the time being 
was required to immediately after the expiration of said term, to enter 
prosecution, by way of information in the courts of said county, on be- 
half 01 the Commonwealth, and on judgment being obtained, imme- 
diately to issue execution and proceed to the sale of such goods and 
chattels ; and then, if such person or persons so prosecuted, should 
not remove in three months, the Attorney was required to certify 
to the Governor the name or names of the person or persons so re- 
fusing, who was required to issue orders to the commanding officer of 
the said county, or to any officer in the pay of the State, to remove 
such person or persons, or any others who might settle thereon, by 
force of arms, except such persons as had actually settled, prior 
to the first day of January, 1778. 



B}^ the terms of the compact with Virginia, passed December 18, 
1779, it was agreed that no grant of land or land warrant to be issued 
by Kentucky, the then propose^ State, should interfere with any war- 
rant issued prior to -that time from the land office of Virginia, on or 
before the first day of September, 1791. That the unlocated lands of 
this district, which stood appropriated to individual, or discription of 
individuals, by the laws of Virginia for military or other services, 
should be exempted from the disposition of the proposed State of 
Kentucky, and should remain to be disposed of by the Commonwealth 
of Virginia, according to such appropriation, until the first day of 
May, 1792, and no longer, and thereafter the residue oi all lands re- 
maining ii) the military reservation, should be subject to the disposi- 
tion of Kentucky. 

By an act of the Assembly of Kentucky, passed December 21, 
1795, about three years and a half after the expiration of the time stip- 
ulated in the compact with Virginia, concerning the appropriation of 
these reserved military lands had expired, it was discovered that a 
number of people had settled on the vacant lands south of Green 
River, under a belief that they were no longer to be taken by military 
warrants, and that the Legislature would grant them settlements there- 
for, upon their paying a moderate price for the same. 

The Legislature, by right of vested interest, ordained that 
every housekeeper or free person above the age of twenty-one years, 
who had actually settled on any land within that boundary, set apart 
for the said officers and soldiers on the south side of Green River, 
which had not previously been taken by a military warrant, on or be- 
fore the first day of January next following, and should actually reside 
thereon at the time, should be entitled to any quanity of land not ex- 
ceeding two hundred acres, including such settlement, provided the 
settlement did not include any salt lick, or any body of ore. For the pur- 
pose of ascertaining who should be the rightful owner of the land, it 
was further enacted that three persons should be appointed with power 
and authority to hear and determine the right of settlement at a 
court to be held in Logan County, of which county Henderson was 
then a part. This court was invested with full power to hear and de- 
termine all disputes between settlers, and their decision was to be 
final and without appeal. In case of a contest respecting the right of 
settlers, the person who made the first improvement should be pre- 
ferred, that the lands located by virtue of this act should be surveyed 
within six months, and a plat and certificate lodged in the Register's 
office within six months from the time of the survey, upon which the 



Register should issue a grant. All fixed fees were required to be 
paid, and for a failure on the part of the settler to comply with the 
law, then the survey was to revert back to the State. It was further 
enacted, that no person should settle on any vacant or unappropriated 
land within the State in future, with the expectation of being granted 
the preference of settlement. 

Subsequently an act, entitled an act, for encouraging and grant- 
ing relief to settlers, approved March 1, 1797, was amended and re- 
vised by an act approved February 10, 1798. The act of 1797, which 
was an amendment to the act of 1795, having been found defective, 
it was enacted by way of amendment and revision, that any widow or 
free male person above the age of eighteen years, and every other 
free person, having a family, who should have or might actually settle 
himself or herself on any vacant or unappropriated land on the south 
side of Green River, on or before the first day of July next. following, 
clear and fence two acres, and tend the same in corn, should be en- 
titled to two and not less than one hundred acres of land, to include 
his or her settlement in any part of the survey, which he or she should 
express in his or her entry ; provided a certificate of a settlement 
sh5uld not be laid on the lands set apart for any salt lick or spring, 
with one thousand acres around the same, or for seminary purposes. 
Every person entitled to a settlement by virtue of this act, was re- 
quired to lay in his or her claim before a board of three Commission- 
ers appointed by the Governor, when setting for that purpose, describ- 
ing the bounds of his or her lands, and furnishing proof of his or her 
rights of settlement. Each person to whom a settlement was granted 
agreeably to this act, was required to pay into the Treasury of the 
State for each one hundred acres of first-rate land, sixtv dollars, and 
for all lands of inferior quality, fifty dollars, and for a failure to pay 
the amount and to obtain the Auditor's quietus according to law for 
the same, within twelve months from the time of granting such certifi- 
cate, the land was to be forfeited to the State. In addition to this, 
each settler obtaining a certificate agreeably to this act, was required 
to enier the same with the Surveyor of the county in which the land 
should lie, and the same surveyed as nearly in a square as the inter- 
vening claims would admit of, and to return a plat and certificate of 
survey, accompanied by the Commissioners' certificate, to the Regis- 
ter's office of the State, within twelve months from the time of obtaining 
such certificate, and upon the payment of the usual fees the Register 
was required to issue a grant. For the purpose of determining who 
were entitled to a settlement under the provisions of this act, the 


Commissioners' appointed by the Governor were empowered to hear 
and determine the right of settlement, and the class to which said 
land belonged. The Commissio^iers' were directed to meet at the Court 
House in Christian County, to which Henderson then belonged, on 
the third Monday in October, and to continue by adjournment until 
the business brought before them should be completed. In all dis- 
putes between settlers, the priority of settlement, the oldest improve- 
ment made after the first day of March, 1797, was to have preference, 
and no person was to obtain a certificate for more than one settle- 
ment ; provided any person who had actually settled him or herself on 
any vacant land prior to March 1, 1797, and complied with the re- 
quisition of this act, and resided thereon at the time of the meeting of 
the Commissioners, and who had not obtained a certificate from the 
former Commissioners, should be considered the oldest improved, but 
in a dispute between settlers concerning the priority of improvement 
under this act, no improvement was to be considered as sufficient, 
unless the person having made the same should have actually settled 
thereon within four months from the time of improving. It was fur- 
ther enacted that any person who should obtain a settlement by virtue 
of this act. and not reside thereon, either by himself or his or her 
representative, a": least one year next succeeding the date of his or 
her certificate, should forfeit all right, title and interest and claim to, 
or in such settlement, and the same was to revert to the State, Any 
person who had obtained a certificate for a settlement under the act 
of 1795, heretofore recited, and had failed to pay as required, were 
given the further time of nine months to pay the same, without any 
forfeiture, by paying six per cent, interest per annum, and if the prin- 
cipal and interest was not paid within the nine months from the date 
of the act, the lands not paid for should be at the disposition of the 
Legislatiiie until the whole amount due thereon was paid ; anv person 
who had obtained a certificate of settlement and neglected to enter 
the same within the time limited by law with the surveyor, was granted 
six months further time to do so ; any person, who by a mistake may 
have settled on a military claim and obtained a certificate from the 
Commissioners in conformity to the act of 1795, was given by this act 
twelve months time to remove from the same and settle himself or 
herself on any vacant and improved land on the south side of Green 
River. On February 12, 1798, an act to prevent illegal surveys on 
the south side of Green River w^as approved and a heavy penaltv 
fixed for a violation thereof. On the twenty-second day of Decem- 
ber, 1798, another act allowing? the settlers south of Green River to 


pay the money due the State in equal instaHments and for other pur- 
poses, was passed. This act, after reciting the fact that the settlers 
on the south side of Green River labored under great inconveniences 
from the scarcity of money, and to remedy the same, it was enacted 
that all persons who had obtained certificates under this act, passed 
at the last session — 

*' Entitled an Act to Amend and Revise the Act, Entitled an Act for 
Encouragin.^ and Granting Relief to Settlers on the south side of Green River, 
should be allowed to pay the same by equal annual installments, of one-fourth 
part of the purchase money, together with lawful interest annually due on the 
same, the first annual payment to be made on or before the 15th of the follow- 
ino- November, That all claimants under any former acts passed previous to 
the year 1795, for the encouragement and granting relief to settlers, should 
have the further time of six months to pay into the Treasury the several 
sums due from them, and during the time no forfeitures should accrue for any 
failure of pavment, according to the provisions of any former law." 

On December 10, 1799, one year afterwards, another act was 
passed granting to settlers prior to the year 1797, who had not paid 
the sums due from them, the further time of ten months to pay the 
same. This same extension was granted to all persons who had ob- 
tained certificates under the act of February 10, 1798. This act also 
gave to settlers who, through mistake, had obtained a certificate on a 
military or for prior claim, the still further time of eighth months to 
remove and locate the same on any other land on the south side of 
Green River not at that time legally appropriated. The further time 
of eight months was given all persons who had obtained a certificate 
under any of the before-recited acts to survey the land to which they 
may have been severally entitled by this or any former act. On De- 
cember 11, 1800, one year after, an act was passed granting further 
relief to settlers on the south side of Green River. In this act the 
Legislature directed that all monies due at that time and to become 
due for lands 2:ranted bv the Commonwealth to settlers south of Green 
River, shall be paid in nine annual installments, to be paid on the 
first day of December in each year thereafter, until the whole amount 
be paid, with five per cent, interest. Again by this act the further time 
of twelve months was allowed to all persons, who, through mistake, 
had obtained certificates for settlements formed on military claims, to 
re-locate the same on any land on the south side of Green River, not 
at the time legally appropriated, or entered for by any other person. 
The still further time of two years was given to all persons who had 
obtained certificates on the south side of Green River, to enter and 
survey the same ; nor was this the end, nor were settlements made at 


the expiration of the time ; on the contrary, settlers continued to im- 
portune indulgencies, and the Legislature continued to grant them. 
An act, entitled, " An Act to Reciuce the Price of Head-right Lands 
on the South Side of Green River, Approved December 13, 1831," 
after going on to recite that it had been represented that the lands 
to be paid for to the Commonwealth, derived under Commissioners', 
County and Circuit Court certificates, to settlers south of Green River, 
were generally poor and of little value and owned and settled by poor 
persons, actually ordained that the owner or owners of any such claim 
or claims should be permitted to pay for them at the rate of five dol- 
lars per hundred acres, and at that rate for a greater or smaller quan- 
tity at any time within twelve months from and after the first day of 
January, 1831, an act to repeal the law then in existence in relation to 
head-right settlers, and to dispose of the balance of the debt due 
the Commonwealth on Commissioners', County and Circuit Court 
certificates south of Green River, should be filed in the office of the 
County Court of the county wherein the party resided, subject to the 
order of the County Court, which was directed after the first day of 
the following November, to be determined on what public highway 
or highways within their counties the money or labor arising or due 
from said head-right debtors should be appropriated. The court was 
directed to appoint an overseer to lay out the said money or labor 
upon any road in whatever manner the Court might direct. The 
overseer was directed to collect the amounts due the Commonwealth, 
either in money or labor, as the debtor might elect, and the overseers' 
receipt acted as a quietus to the land claim, so far as the State was 
interested. So much of the act in force at that time as authorized the 
owners of head-right certificates to have them surveyed and patented, 
was continued in force for two years longer ; but all claims not sur- 
veyed and returned to the Register's office before the end of the above- 
named time, were to be forfeited to the State, and might be taken up 
and surveyed by any person in the same manner as other vacant lands 
belonging to the State. 

It was further enacted that each of the County Courts of the 
Commonwealth should have full power and authority, in their discre- 
tion, to surrender up to any widow, or poor persons, who might be 
unable to pay, and who had been a settler on the land, any balance 
due from him, her or them, and, without payment, grant a certificate 
to the Auditor in like form, as if the payment had been made in money 
or labor. Again on the seventh day of February, 1834, an act to 
amend an act concerning head-right certificates, was approved. In 


this the owners of head-right certificates were given an additional 
twelve months, to file in the office of the County Clerk, their certifi- 
cate as required by the act of 1833. An act entitled an act to reduce 
the price of head-right lands on the south side of Green River, ap- 
proved December 13, 1831, was continued in force until the first day 
of January, 1835. From the foregoing acts of the Kentucky Legisla- 
ture, concerning the early settlement of the territory south of Green 
River, it will be seen that body was not alone active in the interest of 
the new comer, but solicitous that he should choose a safe beginning, 
and in choosing it, make sure of a prosperous future. No petition of 
the people went unheeded, and it is quite probable, through the liber- 
ality of the Representatives, they were often imposed upon and se- 
duced into doing things, which in their results, culminated in injury 
rather than good to the people. 

In this chapter I have endeavored to give a brief history of the 
early laws, as applied to settlers, and from it may be gained a lesson 
of the trials and tribulations of our ancestors. They were poor and 
ignorant and thus necessarily, from surrounding inconveniences, fell 
heir to great anxiety of mind and body. We now, in this enlightened 
age, can but poorly estimate what was done by them for us. 



IN the earl}' days of Henderson, when settlements were very few 
and far between, the country wild, no roads, no conveniencies, no 
n:iode of travel, save upon the back of a horse, or on foot, the means 
of obtaining information from other parts of the country were poor 
indeed. There were no mail facilities, no way of getting the news, 
only through the medium of one to another, who happened to be 
traveling from place to place. It is not strange, therefore, that the 
acts of the Legistature were a long time finding their way to the peo- 
ple, and the people then a long time complying with the law. Offi- 
cers of the law were distressingly few, and to institute legal proceedings 
to settle land rights, was an undertaking most of the settlers rather 
shrank from, than wished to undertake. The nearest courts were one 
hundred to two hundred miles away, with no roads or bridges. A nar- 
row passageway or trail beaten by wild animals meandering through 
the cane, pea-vine, prairie grass and forest undergrowth, offered the only 
highway, and to make this- journey was both difficult and dangerous. 
For this reason, perhaps more than any other, many people failed to 
comply with the law, and what they had earned by honest hard toil was 
taken away by the more active settler of a speculative and unscrup- 
ulous turn of mind. There were few men in those days to counsel 
with, and matters could not be brought from shapeless confusion, 
with such comparative ease and reasonable expense as they were 
when the county became mpre thickly populated. During the nine- 
ties, settlements were made in the county and town until it was deemed 



advisable to establish another county ; therefore to aid in the more 
rapid developement of the Green Ri^^er country, on the 21st day of 
December, 1798, the General Assembly of the State passed the fol- 
lowing act : 

•' Section i. Be it enacted^ ^c.. That all of that part of the Count}- of 
Christian, from and after the 15th day of May next, included in the following 
lands to-wit : Beginning on Trade Water, opposite the mouth of Montgomer- 
ies, thence to the head of Drake's Creek, thence down Drake's Creek to Pond 
River and down the same to Green River, and down the same to the Ohio 
River, and down the same to the mouth of Trade Water, and up the same to 
the beginning, shall be one distinct county, and called and known by the name 
of Henderson. But the County of Henderson shall not be entitled to a separ- 
ate Representative until the number of free male inhabitants therein contained, 
above the age of twenty-one years, shall entitle them to one representation, 
agreeable to the ratio that shall hereafter be established by law. 

"Sec. 2. The Qiiarter Sessions Court for the County of Henderson 
shall be held annually on the first Tuesday in the months of March, May, July 
and October, and the County Courts tor said county shall sit the same day in 
every other month, in which the Courts of Qiiarter Sessions are not herein 
directed to be held, in such manner, as is provided by law in respect to other 
counties within this State. 

"Sec 3. The Justices of the Court of Qiiarter Sessions and County Courts 
named in the Commissions for said county, shall meet at Samuel Bradley's 
Tavern, in the Town of Henderson, in the said county, on the first court day 
after said division takes place, and having taken the oath prescribed by law, 
and a Sheriff being qualified to act, the Justices of the said courts shall proceed 
to appoint a clerk, separately to their respective courts, as they may severally 
choose to do, and to fix on a place to erect the public buildings in said county 
where the courts for said county thereafter shall be held." 

This act made it lawful for the Sheriff of Christian County to 
make distress fot any public dues or officers' fees unpaid by citizens, 
within the bounds of the new county at the time the division should 
take place ; also, that the Courts of Christian County should have 
jurisdiction in all actions and suits depending therein at the time of 
said division, and should try and determine the same, issue process, 
and award execution. This act took effect May 15, 1799. Hender- 
son was now a full-fledged county, with established boundaries, includ- 
ing ample territory, one would think, for all practical and reasonable 
purposes, yet there was a disposition to claim the peninsula north- 
west of the Ohio River, and now known as the bayou in Union Town- 
ship, Indiana. Title Papers calling for lines in that territory which 
was claimed as a part of Christian County, are of record in the County 
Clerk's office at this time. For a long time this disputed question 
remained unsettled. On the 27th day of January, 1810, the Legisla- 



ture of Kentucky settled the question, by the passage of the following 
preamble and enactment : 

"Whereas, Doubts are suggested whether the counties calHng for the 
Ohio River in the boundary line extend to the State Hne on the northwest 
side of said river, or whether the margin of the southeast side is the limit of 
the county— to explain which-.5^ it enacted, &-c.. That each County of this 
Commonwealth calling for the river Ohio, as the boundary line, shall be con- 
sidered as bounded in that particular by the State line, on the northwest side 
of said river, and the bed of the river and the Islands thereof, shall be in their 
respective counties holding the main land opposite thereto within this State, 
and the several county tribunals shall hold jurisdiction accordingly." 

Subsequent to this in a suit of Handley's lessee, versus Anthony, 
concerning Kentucky's jurisdiction over the peninsula in Indiana' 
opposite the Town of Henderson, the Court of Appeals of Kentucky 
decided among other things — 

'-That the boundary of the State of Kentucky extends only to low water 
mark on the western or northwestern side of the river Ohio, and doesnotin- 
clude a peninsula or island on the western or northwestern bank, separated 
from the main land by a channel or bayou, which is filled with water, only 
when the river rises above its banks, and is at other times dry." 

This decision has forever settled the boundary line of Henderson 
County, so far as her northwestern line is concerned. In pursuance 
of the act heretofore recited, creating the County of Henderson, the 
five Justices of the County Court and the three of the Court of Quar- 
ter Sessions, commissioned by his excellency, the Governor, met for 
the first time at Bradley Tavern, in the Town of Henderson, on the 
fourth day of June, 1799, and organized their courts according to law. 
The first record says : 

" This being the day directed by an. act of the General Assembly, for the 
meeting of the Courts of Justices thereof aforesaid, for the purposes therein 
expressed, the said officer*- met as aforesaid, and constituted their courts in 
manner and form following: Present, Samuel Hopkins, Abraham Landers, 
and Hugh Knox, Gentlemen Justices of the Court of Quarter Sessions of Hen- 
derson County. Present, Charles Davis, Jacob Barnett, Daniel Ashby, John 
Husbands, Eneas McCallister and Jacob Newman, Gentlemen Justices of the 
Peace and County Court, for Henderson County. A commission from his 
excellency, the Governor of the State, bearing date December 22, 179S, di- 
rected to Charles Davis, Jacob Barnett, Daniel Ashby, John Husbands, 
Eneas McCallister and Jacob Newman, Esq's., appointing them Justices of 
the Pea „ in this county, was produced and read, whereupon the said gentle- 
men took the oath prescribed by the Constitution, and were qualified a^'ccord- 
ingly , ^ commission from his excellency, the Governor, bearing date Decem- 
ber 22, 1798, directed to Andrew Rowan. Esq., appointing him Sherift'of the 
County, was produced and read, whereupon the said Andrew Rowan took the 


oath prescribed bv the Constitution, and with Daniel Ashby and Jacob New- 
man, his sureties entered into, and acknowledged their bond in the penalty of 
one thousand dollars for the said Rowan's duly and faithfully performing the 
said office of Sherift" according to law " 

The Court of Quarter Sessions then proceeded to appoint a clerk 
and John David Haussman was appointed, whereupon the said Hauss- 
man took the oath, &c., and entered into bond, with General Samuel 
Hopkins his surety. The County Court proceeded to appoint a clerk, 
and John David Haussman was appointed, and with General Samuel 
Hopkins, his surety, entered into bond, &c. Edward Talbott produced 
a commission from the Governor, appointing him Surveyor of the 
county, whereupon he, with Isham Talbott, his surety, entered into 
bond in the penalty of one thousand pounds for the faithful perform- 
ance of his duties. 

The Justices of the Court of Quarter Sessions, and the Justices 
of the County Court consociated, proceeded to consider and fix upon 
a place for the seat of Justice of Henderson County, and having con- 
sulted together, ordered and determined that the public buildings be 
erected on the Public Square in the Town of Henderson, and that the 
courts for the county be held in the said Town. The Justices having 
determined on such matters as were confided to them conjointly by 
law, dissolved their sitting. The County Court continued in session, 
all of the qualified Justices being present. The first business pre- 
sented to the court, was an indenture of bargains and sale from 
Henry Purviance for himself, and as an attorney in fact for others, the 
same was acknowledged and ordered to be recorded. The court then 
adjourned to the school house. 


The foregoing copy of the record is about as clear and compre- 
hensive as most of the orders to be found during the official term of 
Mr. Haussman ; evidently that gentleman never expected a history of 
the county from its beginning to be written, and had he kept his books 
with the view of furnishing as little information to the historian as 
possible, he could hardly have succeeded more thoroughly than he 
has done. It would be a hard matter at this time to tell from Mr. 
Haussman's books and papers where Bradley's Tavern and the school 
house stood at the time he was clerk. It would have been an easy 
matter, had he simply added the number of the lot or lots. After an 
extended research through the old records, and repeated conversa- 
tions with many of the oldest inhabitants, it is pretty generally settled 
that Bradley's Tavern stood on the east side of Main between First 


and Second Streets, and the school house stood in the site now occu- 
pied by the store house of Thomas Evans, on the northeast corner of 
Mam and Second Streets. Th?se houses were built after the primi- 
tive style, unhewn logs being used for walls arid logs hewn on one side 
for joists. The school house was a small affair, perhaps not exceed- 
ing fourteen feet square in the clear. To continue with the records 
of the first County Court, we find that the non-cupative will of Joseph 
Mason, deceased, was produced in court, proved by the oath of 
Rachel Thompson, and ordered recorded. In this will a portion of 
the peninsula lying on the Indiana side, of which we have spoken, 
was devised and the same mentioned as being a part of Christian 
County, lying in the northwestern part. The county being without 
a prison house, it was ordered that^Samuel Hopkins, Eneas McCal- 
hster and John Husband, or any two of them, report to the next 
August meeting a plan whereon to erect a public jail, likewise what 
addition ought to be made to the present school house to make it 
more convenient for holding courts. Jonathan Anthom was appointed 
the first constable, executing bond and taking the oath prescribed by 
law. Court then adjourned ; signed, Charles Davis. 




y^HE meeting of the first court of Henderson County was the occa- 
^^ sion of much rejoicing. The Justices and under officers imme- 
diately became sovereign lords, and were gazed at, upon the adjourn- 
ment of that imposing body, as though they were of shape curious, or 
had mysteriously inherited the power of relieving all ills. They were 
courted and feasted, and button-holed, as though they were new- 
comers, with all authority and power. In those early days the honor 
attaching to a commission signed and sealed by the Governor was as 
highly prized as though it was one of our modern papers, ornamented 
with variagated sealing wax, pink ribbons, or red tape, bearing upon its 
face the authority to draw upon Uncle Sam for six thousand or more 
dollars per annum. It was fortunate that there was but little use for 
money, as there was but little of it to be had. There were no expen- 
sive amusements, no extravagant social pastime, no glittering extrava- 
gancies, or cultured professionals, to draw from the buckskin wallet 
shining values for an hour's season with the great masters. But there 
was an abundance of good cheer; — there was the rude, untutored, 
uncultured swing, of the wild woods fiddler, as he made the welkin. 
ring, tickling the souls of unblacked brogans with the inspiring har- 
monies of " Leather Breeches," " Molly Put the Kettle On," or " Buf- 
falo Gals." Little did those people know of your operas, grand recep- 
tions, or swell occasion. A puncheon floor, splintery and unadzed, 
wheron to dance ; a puncheon table, whereon to place their earthern 
or wooden tableware, a log-heap, sending its sparks up to the clouds, 


whereon to broil the richest of meats, and then to swing corners with 
the rosy cheeked lasses of the wild West, was fashion and glory enough 
for them. They had their pleasures, and snuffed freedom from every 
breeze. The woods, barrens and the water courses were theirs ; all 
descriptions of wild game were in gun shot of their cabin doors. The 
land was susceptible of the highest culture, and thus the forefathers 
of many of us stood monarchs over wants, rejoicing, as they had a 
right to, in a promise of a bountiful plenty showered upon them with 
an unmeasured hand. To open up the country to travel, to clear out the 
undergrowth, to settle down to the realities of life, and to regulate the 
settlement according to the forms of progress and law, became the 
most important question. The State had been admitted into the 
Union of States, the county had been recognized by the State, and 
up to this time the strong arm of the law had seldem ever brought its 
protecting fold around the few hardy pioneers of the " Red Banks." 

"but the DAY HAD COME." 

The settlement of the county was on the increase, and to keep 
step with their more advanced neighbors, was one of the determina- 
tions formerly fixed Backed by the authority of the young Common- 
wealth, they began in earnest to open up lands to bring an uninhab- 
ited wilderness from its rude originality to green fields of growing 
grain ; to substitute in place of wolves, herds of cattle and sheep, graz- 
ing upon a thousand hills; to bring civilization from a comparatively 
wild state of individual laxity, by organizing courts, building rude 
temples of justice, and prison houses — such as their limited means 
would allow — substituting public roads for the trails of wild animals, 
clearing up the land for cultivation, and such other things contem- 
plated by law, and the progress of the times in other parts of this 
great country. The second meeting of the County Court was held in 
the old log school house on the first Tuesday in August, 1799. The first 
business coming before the court was the proposition to establish pub- 
lic roads, whereupon the following order was passed : 

smith's ferry ROAD. 

" Ordered, that Samuel Hopkins, Jacob Barnett and Thomas Willingham, 
or any two of them, mark and lay off" a road from the Public Square, in the 
Town of Henderson, to Smith's Ferry, on Green River, and Samuel Hopkins 
is appointed surveyor of that road from the Town of Hendersr>n to the main 
fork of Lick Creek, and Thomas Willingham, from the main fork of Lick 
Creek to the ferry; and it is further ordered, that the said Samuel Hopkins, 
with his own hands ; Arend Rutgers, with his hands; Jacob Barnett, with his 
hands; Russell Hewett, with his hands; Joshua Fleehart, Thomas Smith and 
Rgl^ert B^ird, open the said road and keep it in repair from the public square 


in Henderson to the main fork of Lick Creek, and that John Kilgore, Thomas 
Freels, John Knight Nerod Franceway, Elijah Griffith, Lawrence Raw- 
lasson, Jr., William Rawlasson, Isaac Knight, Nathan Young. Jacob Van- 
kird, Michael Hog, Adam Hay, Alt^ McGlaughlin, Thomas Stoll, Charles 
Davis and his male laboring tithables, Adam Lawrence, Jr., John Lawrence, 
Isaac Lusade and Jesse Kimbell, upou the said road and keep it in repair from 
the main fork of Lick Creek, to Smith's Ferry." 

This was the first road established in Henderson County. It 
ran to a point two miles beyond Hebardsville, where it bore to the 
right, and approached Green River at a point about one, or one and 
a half miles above the present Henderson and Owensboro Ferry. 
This was the crossing place for many years, but subsequently changed 
to Calhoun Ferry, the now crossing place. Under an act concerning 
public roads passed by the General Assembly, February 25, 1797, 
this road was surveyed and opened, yet we have no record of viewers 
even having been appointed. From this it is reasonable to conclude 
that this route had been opened prior to 1799 and recognized as a 
public road, considerably traveled. The distance from Henderson to 
Smith's Ferry was fully twenty miles, and mostly over a hilly, rugged 
country, hence the difficulties the few men who were required to mark, 
lay off and keep in repair the said road must have labored under. 
There were but two surveyors and twenty-eight whites, and four or 
five colored laboring tithables to do the work required over the whole 
line of twenty miles, a work which included clearing, grubbing, level- 
ing, filling and ditching thirty feet wide. From the list of men ap- 
pointed to do this work, the reader may form an idea of the popoula- 
tion of the county at that time, remembering, of course, that many of 
those named lived fully five and some eight miles from the line of the 
road. Under the law of 1797, all male laboring persons from the age of 
sixteen years or more, as well as colored male laboring tithables, were 
appointed by the court, to work upon some public road. This being 
the first and only public road in the county and only twenty-eight 
persons to be found within its whole length of twenty miles, it will 
necessarily be inferred that settlers at that early date were really few 
and far apart. These few men and boys were required to open and 
keep this road in repair. The road was to be kept well cleared and 
smoothed thirty feet wide at least. Bridges and causeways twelve feet 
wide were to be made and kept in repair, and for a failure to do anv 
of the work required, the party failing to attend with proper tools for 
cleaning the road, or refusing to work the same, subjected himself 
to a fine of seven shillings for every day's offense. To comply with 
the law, was either an impossibiltity, or else the surveyors were totally 


incompetent, for it will be seen as this work progresses with the 
business of the Court of Quarter Sessions, that it was a certain 
feature of that court's business, at each session to find bills of indict- 
ments against a large majority of road surveyors of the county for 
failure to keep some parts of their road or roads in repair. 


At the same County Court when the Smith's Ferry Road had been 
disposed of, it was ordered that Abraham Landers, John McCombs, 
John Seeper, William Stewart and John Rover, or any three of them, 
be appointed to mark out a road from the Public Square, within the 
Town of Henderson, in the direction of Clear Creek, and report the 
conveniences and inconveniences. At the September court, the 
Commissioners reported having performed their duty, and marked a 
road running through the lands of Dr. Adam Rankin, Captain Ed- 
mond Hopkins, John Slover, Sr., Isham Sellers, Jacob Newman, near 
Robinson Lick, John Slover, Jr., on a fork of Trade Water, where it was 
supposed the road must necessarily divide itself into several forks, viz: 
to Nashville, Lexington and Christian. They also reported the route 
nearly a direct south one, and from its direction would tend much to 
the convenience and utility of the present inhabitants of the county 
in general. A summons was directed to issue against the land own- 
ers, to show cause, if any, why the road should not be opened. At 
the following November meeting of the court, in obedience to sum. 
mons, the land owners consented to the opening of the road, and 
thereupon it was — 

'■ Ordered that the said road from the Town of Henderson to the mouth 
of Clear Creek he opened, and that Edmund Hopkins he appointed surveyor 
from the Square in the Town of Henderson to tlie line of the Henderson & 
Co, Grant, and that he, witli his own male tithables Dr. Adam Rankin. Sher- 
wood Hicks, James Worthington, Jocob Newman, Abraham Landers, John 
Landers. William Laurence, Rawland Hughes Josenli Worthington and their 
male tithable> open the road and keep it in repair. Wjjliam Black was ap- 
pointid sur\e\'or from the line of the grant to the old trace from Cumberland 
to Robertson's Lick, and he, witli John Leeper, Jacob Newman Matthew 
Kenny. John Christian, Matthew Christian. Nevil Lindsay, Philemon Rich 
ards, James Veach, Isham Sellers, Ephriam Sellers John Slover, Isaac Slover, 
John Slover, Jr., John McCombs. William McCombs. James Hopkins, Wil- 
liam M. Fullerton, Henry Smith. Asha Webb. Andrew Black. John Locks, 
William IJui^hes. David Hughes, Eneas McCallister, Eneas McCallister, Jr., 
Jesse McCallister. John Hancock, Robert Robertson, John Reyburn, John 
Reyburn. Jr , Peter Ruby, Joel Sugg, John Suttles, Joshua Kates, Martin 
Kates, and such male tithabl^? as they may own, open and keep the said road 
in repair." 


Since the establishment of this road, so many alterations have been 
made, and so many new roads established, that it is impossible to lo- 
cate it with any degree o£ accur^y. Enough is known, however, to 
justify the conclusion that that portion of the Knob Lick Road to a 
point six or seven miles out, was the original Henderson and Clear 
Creek Road. The same difficulties which attended the opening of the 
first road established, were found in the opening of this road. Those 
who now ride over the broad smooth roads of the county little know 
the trials, troubles and hard work the handful of early settlers had 
in opening and clearing these long lines of public thoroughfares. It 
is not the purpose of this work to attempt the history of each road in 
the county, for that would prove an endless task, and so multiply its 
pages as to make it not only uninteresting, but cumbersome. We 
take it that the location of the main roads of the county leading out 
of the city, and into which all of the other roads of the county run, 
will be all that is required and all that is necessary. 


In 1817 the road, which is now known as the Henderson and 
Spottsville Road, was established twenty-five feet wide from the Town 
to Race Creek, and from thence to Hopkins' Ferry on Green River. 


During the same year Richard Hart, John Weller, Enoch Sevier 
and John Stayden were appointed to view a road from Henderson to 
Evansville. In July, 1818, one year after, John Weller, John Upp, 
Daniel Smith and Samuel Buttler were appointed to view the same 
route. In 1819, Daniel Smith, Daniel McBride, William Smith, 
John Williams, and Robert Terry, were appointed for the same pur- 
pose and every report made by the viewers proved objectionable to 
the land owners along the line. At the August term, 1822, a writ 
ad quod damnum issued and was tried by the following jurors : Robert 
Terry, W. R. Bovven, Walter C. Langley, Joel Lambert, W. H. In- 
gram, John Weller, Samuel H. Davis, Robert G. Slayden, James H. 
Lyne, Obediah Smith, Leonard H. Lyne and Thomas Herndon, who 
returned the following verdict. 

*' We, of the jury, find that John Smith, one of the contestants, is en- 
titled to five dollars and seventy-five cents. John Hart, to fifty dollars." 

An order was then made by the court, establishing this a public 
road, and the damages awarded by the jury to be paid out of the 
county levy for that year. 



In 1822 it was— 

" Ordered by the court that the road leading from the Town of Hender- 
son to the county line enr6ute to Morganfield, in the direction of Davis Mill, 
on Highland Creek, be opened twenty feet wide, cleared, smoothed and es- 
tablished as one of the public roads of this Commonwealth, and that Charles 
Walden be appointed surveyor, and directed to open the same," 

Davis' Mill was located about one mile below the present cross- 
ing on the Smith Mills route. Some time after the location of this 
road, Clementine Wimsatt and others procured an order changing the 
crossing from Smith Mills to the Union County line, to the one used 
at the present time. For several years there was no bridge built 
across Highland Creek, and during the dry months it was easily 
forded. In times of high water, and during the winter and spring 
months, Mr. Wimsatt kept a ferryboat, which was used in crossing by 
stage and other vehicles. Since that time there have been many 
changes made in this road. 


In 1823, a road from Diamand Island to the Knob Lick Road, 
fifteen feet wide, was established. This road followed the Ohio River 
to a point two miles below Alves Bluff, where it diverged at right 
angles, passing and crossing the Henderson and Morganfield Road at 
the present site of the Town of Geneva, from thence to Corydon and 
Cairo, and thence to the Knob Lick Road. 


In 1824 an order was passed to view a road fifteen feet wide, 
from the bridge on the Henderson and Morganfield Road, to intersect 
the Diamond Island Road beyond Grixon Brown's. This was done and 
Grixon Brown appointed surveyor. This road is now known as the 
Corydon Road, and leaves the Henderson and Morganfield Road just 
below the bridge over Canoe Creek, three miles from the city. 


In the year 1831, an act of the General Assembly of Kentucky 
was passed appropriating all vacant lands in Henderson County to the 
improvement of roads. By this act the Register of the land office was 
directed to issue to Henderson County, free of costs, two hundred and 
fifty dollars worth of land warrants, containing five hundred acres 
each, which said warrants the County Courts were authorized to have 
surveyed upon any vacant or unappropriated land lying in the county, 
and carry the same into grant, and to then dispose of the same or any 
part thereof, and apply the proceeds to the improvement of the mail 


road, from Smith's Ferry, on Green River, to the Union County line. 
These lands were designed to be sold agreeably to that act, and for 
that purpose William D. Allison^, clerk of the County Court, at its 
January meeting, was' appointed agent for the county to dispose of the 
land warrants granted to the said court, with full power to locate said 
warrants, or sell or transfer the same. Subsequent to this act the 
County Court passed the following order : 

" Ordered that the land warrants granted to the County of Henderson by 
the Legislature be appropriated to the road from the Town of Henderson to 
the Union County line on the road leading to Morganfield, and that Thomas 
Towles be appointed Superintendent of the works." 

•'In the year 1834 the road from Henderson to the mouth of 
Green River was established fifteen feet wide, with John Weller, Sr., 
surveyor, who was directed to open the same and keep it in repair. 
In 1835, February 18, the Legislature passed an act, providing that 
all the lands within the Commonwealth east and north of the Tenn- 
essee River, vacant and unappropriated on the first day of August, 
1835, should be vested in the respective County Court of the counties 
in which said lands might lie, to be sold at five dollars per one hun- 
dred acres, and that the proceeds arising therefrom be appropriated 
to a fund constituted for the improvement of the roads and bridges 
of the county, and for no other purpose. 


In the same month of the same year another act was passed 
declaring the Smith's Ferry and Henderson, and Henderson and Mor- 
ganfield Roads a State road in connection with the road running 
from the mouth of Salt River to Shawneetown, Illinois. By this -act, 
the court was directed to lay off the road from Green River to the 
Union County line, into convenient precincts, and to allot to each 
Surveyor a sufficient number of hands to keep the road in good repair 
thirty feet wide and free from stumps. The County Court, under the 
provision of this act, was not allowed to alter or change this road. It 
seems the Commissioner of the County Court experienced some diffi- 
culty in finding vacant lands at that time, for at the October meeting 
of the Court the following order was passed : 

" All persons finding and informing the court of this county of any va- 
cant and unappropriated lands in this county, shall have a pre-emption right 
of buying the same from the court at ten per cent, less than the assessed 


The revenue accruing to the county from this source, while not 
large, was nevertheless a considerable help, going towards the object 
for which it was intended. Aside from this, the court was not punctil- 
liously particular in appropriating the money arising from the sale of 
vacant lands, as the Legislature intended, for we find in 1836 the 
following order passed at the October Court of Claims :" 

" Ordered that the sum of five hundred dollars heretofore appropriated 
be placed to the order of the Board of Internal Improvements to be applied, 
in addition to tl\e sum of one thousand dollars, appropriated by the Legisla- 
ture at their session of 1835 and '36, for the improvements of the roads of Hen- 
derson County tolicused for the purpose of building a county poor liouse." 

However, in 1838, the following appropriations for the improve- 
ments of roads, were made : Three hundred to improve what was 
known as Robinson's flat, two and a half miles out on the Knob Lick 
Road, one hundred dollars to the road to Calhoun's Ferry, on Green 
River, the ferry having been changed from Smith's, four hundred on 
the road leading to Madisonville and four hundred on the road lead- 
ing to Morganfield. For these amounts the Commissioners appointed 
by the County Court to superintend the work were authorized to 
draw upon the agent of the Internal Revenue Fund. 


In 1841, an act, entitled an act to establish a State Road from 
Henderson through Madisonville to Hopkinsville, was approved Jan- 
uary 26. In obedience to this act, the County Court of Henderson 
County appointed Willie Sugg and Levin W. Arnett Commissioners 
for the county, to meet Mark- A. Bone and Frederick Wood, of Hop- 
kins County, and Reading Barfield, of Christian County, for the pur- 
pose of viewing the old road. At the October court the Commissioners 
reported having viewed the route, and at the November court follow- 
ing, they, together with Samuel Morton, Surveyor ; William H.Thom- 
asson and William Morton, chain carriers, and James Bishop, marker, 
were allowed such fees as the law prescribed should be paid. Mr. 
Morton was allow^ed for three days' work, the time spent by him in sur- 
veying the route through Henderson County. The report of the Com- 
missioners was adopted and the road established and recognized as a 
State road, although a route from Henderson to Madisonville had been 
established many years prior to that time, yet this was the first impor- 
tant recognition of the road. 



In 1855 application was ma^e by Dr. W. B. Floyd and Thomas 
J. Lockett, for the opening and location of a public road from Thomas 
W. Royster's to intersect the Madisonville Road at a point between 
the old homestead of John T. Hopkins and Canoe Creek. On this 
application it was ordered by the court, that Enoch Spencer, William 
G. Denton, Joseph McMullen, and John D. Weller, be appointed 
viewers ; to this John T. Hopkins and S. J. Hawkins, through a por- 
tion of whose land it was proposed to locate the road, objected, and 
on their motion another set of viewers, to-wit : James Alves, Mad- 
ison M. Denton, John A. Randolph, Wyatt H. Ingram and W. R. Rudy, 
were appointed to view the road from Thomas W. Royster's to 
intersect the Madisonville Road at a point two or three miles 
further on toward Madisonville. The route, as proposed by Floyd and 
Lockett, began at Thomas W. Royster's and ran thence through the 
lands of Joseph McMuUin and Thomas Spencer, thence on the lines 
of Elizabeth Denton, John H. Spencer, Thomas B. Higginson, Samuel 
D. Denton, William G. Denton and Enoch Spencer, thence over the 
lands of Madison M. Denton, Thomas D. Talbott, Mary S. Talbott, 
Thomas J. Lockett, and on to the old Slover Flat Road, thence over 
the lands of Mrs. Chinoe Smith, to Sugg's corner on Alves' line, thence 
on this line to his corner, thence on Edgar Sugg's line to the corner 
of the horse-lot on the Edgar Sugg's farm, now owned by Gabe D. 
Sugg, thence over the land of S. J. Hawkins to what is known by the 
name of the Agnew route, thence with said Agnew's route to the 
Madisonville Road leading to Henderson. On the twenty-fifth day of 
February, 1856, the viewers reported and summons was directed to 
issue against the land owners, a writ of ad quod dam?ium was issued 
and tried as to all except Hopkins, in whose case the jury hung. 
June, 1856, the apjplicants and J. T. Hopkins entered into agreement 
that Y. E. Allison, Judge of the County Court, might go upon the land 
of said Hopkins and assess the damages. This the Judge very sensi- 
bly declined to do. August, 1856, Hopkins and Hawkins moved to 
quash the returns. This motion was overruled and the road ordered 
to be opened and established as a public road thirty feet wide from 
Thomas W. Royster's to the Henderson and Madisonville Road at 
John T. Hopkins', and over and along the route reported by the 
viewers. It was further ordered that the expense of building five 
bridges reported to be necessary, was too great for the precinct or pre- 
cincts of the road. To all of this Hopkins and Hawkins objected 
and prayed an appeal to the Circuit Court, which was granted At the 



December term of the Circuit Court, a decree was rendered reversing 
for sufficient reasons, the proceeding of the County Court, so far as 
Hopkins and Hawkins were concerned. On the twenty-ninth day of 
October another writ of ad quod da7}iniim was awarded by the hi^^her 
court and was tried upon the premises by the following jurors : J. E. 
Jackson, Larkin White, R. E. Moss, Thomas McFarland, P. D. Neg- 
ley, VV. S. Pamplin, James S. Hicks, E. T. Cheatham, John Walden, 
James White, W. B. Smith and J. W. Tapp. This jury returned the 



*'John Hopkins, for damages, one thousand and seventj-seven dollars; 
S, J. Hawkins, for same, two hundred and eighty-one dollars and seventy-five 

April, 1858, Thomas J. Lockett, Wm. Lockett and Andrew Agnew 
agreed with the County Court to have three of the five bridges built at 
no expense to the county, whereupon it was ordered that the road be 
opened as first directed. This proceeding was still resisted by Hop- 
kins and Hawkins, but finally compromised. Then the road was 
established and laid off into one precinct, with Thomas Spencer as 
overseer. There was never, perhaps, a public county road established 
which engendered so much bitterness of feeling and had such a bill of 
costs attaching to it as was the case in this Floyd and Lockett Road. 
For three years it was fought in the courts, and a host of witnesses 
summoned to testify. Eminent lawyers were employed on both sides, 
and every technicality known to the law was taken advantage of by 
both parties. The road cost the co nty a large amount of money ; nev- 
ertheless, it has been a blessing greatly enjoyed by the inhabitants of 
" Frog Island " and others adjacent to the line. 


The old road service, or system, established by law for road-work- 
ing, was always regarded by most persons as one faulty in the extreme, 
and not more than one remove from a nuisance. All male laboring 
persons of the age of sixteen years or more, except such as were mas- 
ters of two or more male laboring slaves, of the age of sixteen years 
or more, were appointed by the court to work on some public road. 
Every person so appointed was required, upon notice of the Surveyor, 
placed over him, to attend with proper tools for clearing the road, or 
do such work as might be allotted him, or to find some other person 
equally able to work in his room. In case of his failure to attend 
when summoned, he was required to pay the sum of seven shillings, 
sixpence for every day's offense. If the delinquent was an infant or 


minor, the sum was to be paid by his parent, guardian or master, or, 
if a slave or servant, by his overseer or master. The amount could 
be recovered by the overseer of the road before any Justice of the 
Peace within his county, and one-half of the fine was to go to the 
overseer of the road. For this work the laborers were entitled to 
credit on their account of good citizenship. This continued until 1821, 
when payments were then made for the use of teams and implements. 


The surveyors of roads occupied an unenviable position, for to him, 
and him alone, did the traveling public look for a good and safe 
foundation to travel over. It was made his duty to superintend the 
road in his precinct and to see that the same was cleared and kept in 
good order and repair, and upon his failure to do this, he was sub- 
jected to a fine of any sum not exceeding ten dollars, nor less than 
two dollars and fifty cents, to be recovered by indictment. For years 
and years, at each term of the Court of Quarter Sessions, and then 
the Circuit Court, it was the custom, whether from the force of habit, 
or spite, for at least two-thirds of the road surveyors to be summoned 
to answer an indictment or indictments found against them, for neg- 
lecting some part of the road under their charge. 

Road overseers, as they were called, were subjected to an ordeal 
in early times that would hardly hold these piping times of limitless 
civilization. Yet, those people who paved the way to a glorious and un- 
thought of future, we must bow our heads in humble acknowledgment, 
that while public matters are at this day more systematically arranged, 
there is more wealth behind, more of everything conducive to success ; 
yea, more; that had we to-day, as a people, to undergo what was their 
lot, we should miserably fail. We must confess that the children and 
grandchildren have not inherited the hardy, indomitable spirit of pio- 
neer manhood. 





T the July meeting, 1709, of the County Court, initiatory steps 
were taken looking to the building of a prison house of suitable 
size for those times. General Samuel Hopkins and John Husband 
were appointed a committee to investigate and report a plan for such 
a building as in their judgment would meet the views of the court. 
At the August term of the said court, the committee made the follow- 
ing report. The report is copied verbatim and was evidently written 
by the learned architect who furnished the plan of the then royal 

"The Commissioners appointed to report a plan of a "goal," and the 
necessary repairs of the school house to make it convenietit for holding the 
courts therein, reports the plan of the "goal " as follows: the lower room to be 
twelve feet in the clear, built of square timbers ten inches thick, each wall three 
double, with the middle timbers standing upright, the floors double ten inches 
thick crossing each other, the loft in the same manner, the upper room of 
square logs eight inches thick, both stories eight feet high and clabboard roof, 
and the necessarv^ grating for the windows and locks for the doors, to be doub- 
led and fifty dollars to repair the school house. 


" Commissioners . 


" Ordered, that a jail be built on the Public Square in the Town of Hen- 
derson. Abraham I^andcrs, Jacob Barnett and John Husband arc appointed 
Commissioners to let the building and the additions to the school house, to 


the lowest undertaker; provided, however, such alterations do not materially 
exhaust the amount oi funds insight and report." 

At the September meeting, the Commissioners reported having 
let the building of the jail to Jonathan Anthony, for the sum of three 
hundred and thirty-nine dollars, to be built according to the plan 
and specifications reported. This report was adopted, and the Com- 
missioners continued with instructions to make further efforts to let 
the additions to the old school house, to any person who would un- 
dertake the work, for a sum not exceeding fifty dollars. This, the first 
public building in Henderson County, was soon begun and completed. 


At the February term of the court, and the first court held after 
the completion of the new jail, the following order passed : 

" On motion of Jonathan Anthony, it is ordered that Adam Rankin, 
John Standley and John Sprinkle gentlemen to view the house built by said 
Anthony, for the public jail of the county, and make report of the repairs to 
be made to said house in order to make it sufficently strong for the safe keep- 
ing of prisoners of the court." 

Agreeably to this order the Committee of the court did view 
the jail, and returned to the court the following report: 

viewers' report. 
" By order of the court we proceeded to view the jail, and find the doors 
of the lower story to be about three and a half inches thick, not well spiked, 
and that part of the hinge which goes into the log for the door to hang on, 
does not go through to clinch, the facings of the doors are not spiked, the sta- 
ples are not sufficient, some of the logs of the upper floor of the under story are 
loose and ought to be made fast ; the locks we can't say anything about, as 
thev are not at the doors, the bars of the window not an inch thick, the door of 
the upper story not well spiked, nor the facing, which ought to be done; the 
windows not so large as called for, and the facing not well spiked, some of the 

logs not squared and not sufficiently close. 





From this report the court determined that Mr. Anthony, the 
contractor, had not complied with his contract, but, on the contrary, 
had failed to convince them that he was a respectable mechanic. 
However, when the new jail had been completed, it was the pride of 
the town, not so much owing to its architectural beauty and finish, as 
to the fact of its being the first public building in the county. It had 
two stories and two doors, one door opening into the lower story, the 
other a trap-door opening into the upper story. It had one small 


window or light-hole in the second story. The lower story was called 
a dungeon, the upper the debtors' prison, where persons arrested for 
debt were confined. A comrtfon split ladder furnished the poor 
debtor a pathway from the dungeon to his abode above. There was 
no fire-place in the jail, so during cold weather those confined in it 
were compelled to go to bed, keep up a lively calesthenic drill or 
freeze. This little log prison house, no better than a majority of the 
cattle stables of the county at this time, was received in 1800, and re- 
cognized as headquarters for criminals and debtors, until proving in- 

•' A NEW JAIL." 

Was ordered to be built in 1807. From accounts on file in the office 
of the County Clerk, it is safe to say that during each year of its ex- 
istence more money was paid out by the county for jail guards than 
the miserable little concern cost originally. This insignificant hut 
was located on Court Square on the spot where the front gate now 
stands. This second prison was built in 1808 and was of the follow- 
ing dimensions : 

*' The dungeon for criminals sixteen feet square, the sides of hewed logs 
ten inches in diameter and three logs thick, the floors of the same kind of logs, 
and two logs thick, laid at right angles to each other, the inner door made ot 
timber three inches thick spiked with iron spikes three inches apart, hung on 
strong and sufficient iron hinges with staples and two strong bars to secure 
the door on the outside ; the outside of the door of the same dimension, and 
finished in the manner as the inner door, except that it shall be secured with a 
strong jail lock with a window nine inches wide, and two feet in length, se- 
cured with a strong iron grate. Hie debtors' apartment immediately above and 
of the same dimensions as the dungeon, appendant to the dungeon on the side 
out of which the door may be cut, a room sixteen feet square of hewed oak logs, 
one story high, with a good plank floor and loft, a brick or stone chinmey in 
the end, with a door or window in the front of the house, and completely and 
comfortablv finished for a guard room. It was further ordered that each of the 
before described looms be covered with good jointed shingles and lastly that 
the dungeon, debtors' room and room for the guard, be begun and finished in 
a workman-like manner, on or before the first day of October, 1808. Benja- 
mine Talbott, having agreed, with the consent of the court, to do the above de- 
scribed work, and for which he is to give bond with security in the Clerk's 
office, with covenant, agreeing with the order of the court in this particulai, he 
is permitted to make use toward completing this work, of such iron taken from 
the late jail as he may think proper." 

This jail was used until the year 1820, and during its- twelve years 
of existence was never regarded as a safe prison, and was a continual 
expense to the county. Accounts running from fifty to one hundred 
dollars were presented annually for guard service, and it may be 



safely said that five times the cost of the building was paid for guard 
service alone. These claims continually coming in, awakened the 
Magistrates to the importance of building a stronger house, so at 
the October Court of Claims, 1816, five hundred dollars were levied 
for that purpose. In 1817, '18, '19 and '20, additional levies were 
made for the same purpose. In the year 1818 Ambrose Barbour, 
Fayette Posey and John Holloway were appointed commissioners to 
have built a good and sufficient jail. They presented a plan with 
specifications, which were approved and adopted. A contract, on the' 
the twelfth day of June, 1819, was entered into with Francis Ham- 
mill, the then leading contractor in the town, and for the sum of five 
hundred dollars, but from some unknown cause was annuled, and 
another made on the third day of September, with William R. Bowen, 
at, and for the same price, according to the copy and minute of the 
court, but for the sum of three thousand five hundred dollars, accord- 
ing to the contract signed and entered into between the parties. That 
our readers may know the character of the building which stood on 
the brow of the Court Hill for forty-three years, the specifications 
adopted by the Commissioners are here inserted : 


"The house to be of brick, forty feet long, twenty-six feet wide, two 
stories high, the tower story to be nine feet high between the sleepers and joists 
or floors, and the upper story to be eight feet high between the floors ; they 
must be divided in the lower story by a brick partition midway the house. 
The lower story two and a half bricks thick, the upper story two bricks thick in 
the walls, and two bricks thick in the partition, the underpinning to be stone 
to the tables, the upper room to be divided into three rooms or cells, each room 
to be 11x12 feet in the clear, the outer wall of which to be lined with timbers 
six inches thick, upright, to be faced crosswise with two-inch oak plank, and 
at least two inches thick and nailed or spiked to the timbers. The parti- 
tion walls, of and between each of the upper rooms or cells, to be made with 
upright timbers, eight inches thick and faced on each side, crossing with two- 
inch oak plank, as aforesaid. The lower floor to be laid with one and one-halt 
inch oak plank, with strong sleepers, the plank to be seasoned and jointed, but 
need not be dressed. The floors to the second story to be laid with timbers, 
close, ten inches thick and faced with two -inch oak plank, seasoned and joined 
as aforesaid, above and below the floor. The upper rooms above to be made 
with ten-inch timbers, as aforesaid, to be taced cross-wise below with two-inch 
oak plank. There must be a passageway to the upper room, six feet wide, made 
with ten-inch timbers, and faced with two-inch oak plank, as aforesaid; on 
each side, the timbers in all cases, must be placed upright and close together, 
and the oak plank for the facings must be seasoned and joined, but need not be 
dressed. To the lower rooms there must be an outside door, and window of 
eighteen lights to each room, opposite to each and midway of each room, 


except the room in which the stairway is run up. The stairs to be tour feet 
wide and the railing strong ; the steps to be made of oak planks one and one- 
half inches thick, seasoned and joinied. The door to enter the passage above 
Tnust be a falling or ti'ap-door of two-inch oak plank, seasoned and jointed 
double, and spiked crosswise together, to be locked below with a double bolted 
padlock, and strong hinges let into the timber above. The doors to each of the 
cells above to be made of sheet-iron at least one-eight of an inch thick, faced 
with a door of two-inch oak plank, spiked with strong iron spikes, 
and the facing of each door to be of the same material and thickness, fastened 
to the timbers, and plank facing with strong iron spikes. The locks to each 
of the cell doors must be locked with large and strong locks outside. There 
must be an iron netting above each cell door of one inch square, twelve inches 
hio-h and as wide, as the door. The windows above to be opposite each cell 
door, of eight lights each, to be gurded with an iron netting one inch square, 
and the facings must be iron as aforesaid. There must be a chimney at each* 
end of the jail, with a fire-place in each room below, to be placed outside of the 
wall above, so as not to weaken the wall to the outside cells. The materials of 
every kind must be of the best kind, and the whole work must be done in a 
strong, substantial manner. It is to be, and is understood, that the upright 
timbers are to be let into the timbers above and below with a tenant or groove 
of two inches deep in the whole width. The roof to be made in the usual way, 
for instance, as the Court House, in form and material. The rooms in the 
first story and partition must be plastered, as the Court Room of the Court 

This building wa.s located on Court Hill in the rear of the Court 
House, and in 1820, was completed and received from the contrac- 
tors by the County Court. Outside of necessary repairs, it was never 
of much expense to the county, and was never broken but twice in 
its history of forty-three years. During that time many of the hard- 
est characters known to the law were incarcerated in it. 

There are incidents connected with this old building interesting 
and amusing; there are also painful truths, which it is not the purpose 
of this book to tell about. In 1853 the following order was passed, 
which will no doubt amuse the reader : 

''Ordered that the jailer of Henderson County purchase for W J. 
PhiHps, a prisoner in the county jail on the charge of felony, one comfort, 
an i take fire three times a day, in a pan, for him to warm by, and to guard the 
fire while said Philips is warming." 


For several years prior to 1860, great complaint had been made 
to the court concerning the county jail, and at the January, 1860, 


*'Itwas ordered that John H. Lambert, William B. Beatty, Barak Bras- 
hear, Y. E. Allison, and L. W. Brown, be appointed commissioners to exam- 
ine the jail building of the county, and report whether the same can be heated 



bv any safe means, and if not, and they think a new jail ought to be built to 
report a plan and the probable cost of the work " 

The Commissione'rs returned their report to the March court fol- 
lowing, and thereupon the Magistrates of the county were summoned 
to consider the same. In April the Magistrates met, and after hav- 
ing considered the premises for which they had been summoned, 

" It was ordered that William B. Beattj, Y. E Allison, F E Walker 
Barak Brashear. and Mat J. Christopher be appointed commissioners of the 
county to have made and report a suitable plan and specificaiions for a new 
jail and dwellin.^^ house for the jail, the cost of the same to be fixed at cash 
prices. It was further ordered that P. A Blackwell, F, E Walker and P 
H. Lockett be appointed a committee to ascertain and report what amount of 
money the county may have to bo.row, and upon what' terms the same can 
be secured, upon the credit of the county for the purpose aforesaid." 

The Commissioners appointed to report a plan and specifications, 
did so, but from some cause the report did not suit the minds of the 
Magistrates, and thereupon another set of commissioners, to wit • 
James B. Lyne, Edward D. McBride, and C. W. Hutchen were ap- 
. pointed to draft a plan of a good and sufficient jail, and report at this 
court. Five cents on the one hundred dollars was levied, to be col- 
lected and paid into the jail fund. At the November court, 1862, the 
Commissioners reported a plan and specifications prepared by F. W 
Carter, of Louisvil'e, an architect of considerable reputation, and the 
same were adopted and approved by the court. On motion Mr. 
Carter was allowed one hundred and fifty dollars for his work. On 
motion it was 

"Ordered that C. W. Hutchen, Y. E. Allison, F. E. Walker. E D Mc- 
Bride, and Jesse Lame be appointed a committee to le^ out the building of the 
new jail to the lowest and best bidder and superintend the building as it pro- 
gresses." ® ^ 

They were also directed and empowered to borrow money on the 
credit of the county at any rate of interest i^iot exceeding 8 per cent. 
In 18G4 this jail was completed, and received, and Y. E. Allison ap- 
pointed and directed to sell the old building. The present residence 
of the jailer was built at that time, and in its rear stood the prison 
which was thought to be strong enough for all purposes. Around the 
prison was a brick wall fifteen or twenty feet high, which was thou-ht 
to be amply sufficient to prevent the escape of any one who might 
break jail, but this theory proved to be incorrect, and the jail proved 
to be more vulnerable than the old one, which had been torn down. 
After some years it became notorious, and regarded as totally unlit 
for the purpose for which it was intended. 



The Magistrates, in commission June, 1871, by order appointed 
C. Bailey, Isom Johnson, and Jackson McClain commissioners to ex- 
amine the jail building. They were authorized to employ skilled ad- 
vice, and if in their opinion the building could be repaired, to report 
what repairs were necessary, and the probable cost, and if in the 
event the prison could not be made secure, then to report a plan, 
specifications and probable cost for a new prison house. The Com- 
missioners soon determined that the jail standing at that time was 
worthless, the timbers having rotted, and at no time was it such a 
house as to command the respect of an expert jail bird. They de- 
termined that a prison large enough and strong enough should be 
built, and to better do this, they visited several large cities and made 
personal examinations of prison houses, built upon the most modern 
plan, with a view to convenience, strength and security against jail 
breakers. After thoroughly posting themselves they reported to the 
August term, 1871, as the result of their labors, a plan and specifica- 
tions which received the approval of the court. The court in session 
at that time was composed of the following named Magistrates : G. W. 
Griffin, J. E. Denton, J. M. Johnson, Jesse Basket, James M. Stone, 
Asa F. Parker, Ben F. Gibson, J. A. Priest, Green W. Pritchett, C. 
S. Royster, Hiram Turner, J. F. Toy, William S. Cooper and William 
W. Shelby. The Commissioners were instructed to advertise for bids 
and contract for building the new jail, to contain at least sixteen 
wrought iron cells, and if, in their opinion, the walls standing at that 
time would not do to be lined with iron, and they should deem it best 
to build the jail entirely new. This they were authorized to do, hav- 
ing the walls built of blue limestone, or good hard well burnt brick, 
and lined with iron as in their opinion would be best for the interest of 
the county, taking into consideration the cost and durability of the 
work. At this same term, to wit : August, 1871, bonds of the county, 
to the amount of twenty-five thousand dollars, w^ere authorized to be 
issued bearing 10 per cent, interest, payable semi-annually, and re- 
deemable after five years at the pleasure of the county. November 23, 
eight thousand dollars additional bonds were directed to be issued. 
A number of bids were received by the Commissioners, and upon a 
careful and close investigation the contract for building the jail was 
awarded to Haugh & Co., of Indianapolis, Indiana. Subsequently the 
contract was assigned to Norris & Hinckly, who completed the build- 
ing at and for the sum of thirty-three thousand four hundred dollars, 
including all alterations and changes. Major J. M. Stone, who was 


appointed superintendent of the work, and also a committee to have 
printed and dispose of the bonds of the county. He did his work 
well, and paid into the county treasury between sixteen and seventeen 
hundred dollars premium, received upon the face of the bonds. Major 
Stone and Asa F. Parker were appointed a committee to. sell and have 
removed the old jail when it was determined to build the present jail 
entirely new from the ground up. It was sold to the City of Hender- 
son for a small price, and all of the material of value used in build- 
ing the present handsome city building. On November 30, 1872, final 
payment was made the contractors. This prison when completed 
was thought to be invulnerable. It was built upon the most approved 
plans of prison architecture, including strength and durability, and 
yet it has been broken or cut through as often, or perhaps oftener, 
than any of its predecessors, showing conclusively that there is nothing 
that tools will make that tools will not unmake. One of the saddest in- 
cidents in history is associated with this jail. In December, 1875, dur- 
ing the official term of J. Elmus Denton, a high-strung, impetuous, 
honorable gentleman, the inmates of the jail effected their escape. 
The excitement attending the escapade prayed heavily upon his 
mind, and completely unnerved and prostrated his sensitive, though 
fearless spirit. He was not to be intimidated by a hundred men, but 
the censure of the public was more than he could withstand. He 
thought of nothing else, he allowed his imagination to run wild, and 
while his friends were far from censuring him, he yet imagined that 
they did, and within his mind resolved to take his own life rather than 
face, as he apprehended, a reproving and complaining public. On 
the morning of December 18, he walked, as was usual for him, up on 
Main Street, and while there settled several accounts that he owed. 
Returning to the jail, and without intimating to a soul on earth, or 
taking a farewell look or kiss of his devoted wife, went immediately 
to a room in the second story of the residence, bolted the door, and 
fired a leaden ball through his brain. He fell upon the floor and ex- 
pired immediately. His wife hearing the report, rushed to the room 
door, little anticipating what her eyes would soon behold. Other 
friends came, and before an entrance could be effected the door had 
to be broken in. Upon the opening of the door there lay the noble 
frame of J. E. Denton, enhearscd in death. The scene was a terri- 
ble one, completely unnerving those present. Major J. M. Stone was 
potified and immediately caused a jury to be empanneled for the pur- 
pose of holding an inquest. Upon the body was found the note 
written a short while before the fatal shot, which settled the question 
as to the cause. He admitted his weakness, and hoped that his 
death would atone for the jail escapades. 


T HAVE stated in the first chapter, that when the first commis- 
^ sioned justices of the County of Henderson met, that meeting was 
held in Bradley's Tavern in June, 1779. After organizing both the 
Court of Quarter Sessions and County Court, the respective courts 
adjourned to meet in the old school house, as it was called, without 
defining its location. This old hut, as it was nothing more, was leased, 
or perhaps taken for the use of the two courts. Of this, however, the 
clerk failed to leave any testimony. Whether it was used as a school 
house during the interim of the courts, and vacated by the schools at 
those times, is a fact we shall never know more about than is now 
known. This house was adjudged inadequate for the purposes of the 
courts, and a committee was created for the purpose of having such 
repairs and additions made to it as would make it both comfortable 
and convenient. The school house, as I am best informed, stood in 
the woods, corner of Main and Second Streets, on the spot where now 
stands the two-story brick owned by Joseph Adams' estate, and occu- 
pied byThos. Evans as a grocery store. The Commissioners appointed 
to investigate its primitive build and condition, were instructed to bring 
the cost of improving the house within the limit of a fifty-dollar bill, and 
by no means to exceed that amount. The means of the infant county at 
that time, as well- as for many years thereafter, were extremely lim- 
ited, and to repeat a common expression, " A cut four-pence in the 
eye of a pioneer was as big as a buffalo." On this account the greatest 
caution had to be exercised in creating debts, even for necessary im- 
provements. The people were not taxed heavily, but there was no 
money of any consequence, and no commercial relations to attract 
capital. The Commissioners experienced great difficulty in getting the 


school house fitted up as the Justices wished, and whatever became 
of it will never be known, from the fact the records from a few months 
after this to 1816 are lost, therefore the story of the old school house 
must come to a sudden and unsatisfactory termination. From old, 
worn, mutilated papers found tied in a shapeless bundle, with strings 
which have rotted from absolute old age, I have discovered enough to 
know that the courts of the county continued to hold their meetings 
in the old school or some other similar house until the year 1814, 
when they took possession and were installed, in all of the pomp and 
ceremony attaching to occasions of that kind, in their new Temple of 
Justice built on the site now occupied by the present Court House. 


At the January term of the County Court, held in the year 1813, 
Daniel McBride, Samuel Hopkins, Jr., James M. Hamilton and Am- 
brose Barbour were appointed commissioners to inquire into the ex- 
pediency of building a new Court House, and if expedient, to report 
a plan and specifications for the information of the court This was 
soon done, and the plans and specifications drawn and written by 
Samuel Hopkins, Jr., were adopted, and an order entered, that a 
Court House be built of brick according to that plan with the varia- 
tions in the same, that there should be no gallery or jury rooms be- 
low, and such other changes in the plan of the inside of said build- 
ing, as the court should think proper. The aforesaid Commissioners 
were authorized and instructed to contract for said building:, and 
superintend the work during its progress. 

On the sixth day of February, 1813, the Commissioners en- 
tered into contract with Philip Barbour, at and for the sum of five 
thousand one hundred and forty dollars to build the said Court House 
and deliver the keys to the Commissioners, as per plans and specifi- 
cations. The specifications of this house are reproduced, not for their 
intrinsic worth, but as an architectural literary ponderosity worthy of 
perusal. It is a settled fact that but few persons will be interested, 
and perhaps but f6vv will undertake the perusal of this long-winded 
string of some man's brain, which had b^en neglected for a long time, 
and was offered this opportunity of unloading. We doubt very much 
if the specifications furnished for the Capital at Washington consumed 
more space or were more minute in each and every particular. Here 
they are : 

" This house to be built of brick made in moulds not above nine inches 
long, four and three-eighths inches wide, and two and three-quarter inches 
thick or deep, well and truly made, and burnt and laid in mortar made in the 


best manner from cement. The house to be fortj-four feet long, including 
the walls, and twenty-eight feet wide in the clear — that is inclusive of the 
walls, from the foundation to the sm-face of the earth of, say one foot at the 
base, to be three bricks in length thick, from thence to the water table one foot 
to be two and a half bricks length thick, from ihence to the joists fourteen feet 
to be two bricks lengths thick, thence to tlie top of the wall eight feet of one 
and a half brick lengths thick. The gable ends to be one brick length thick, 
a chimney at the one, and with a fire-place in the upper story of an appropri- 
ate size, for the room for which it is intended, being twenty-eight feet square. 
There shall be two doors below in the middle of each side of the house, that 
is one on each side of equal length with the top of the windows, and made of 
two folds of panels to each, each fold containing at least four panels, and 
worked on both sides. The said doors are to be of a thickness suitable to the 
size thereof, there shall be eight windows in the lower story, four of twenty- 
four lights each, and four of twenty lights each. The glass of good quality 
and ten by twelve inches in size, which windows are to be placed, the larger 
ones in the sides at equal distance from the doors, and ends of the house, and 
the smaller four in the two ends There shall be ten windows in the upper 
story of twenty lights each, of the same size glass, to be placed six in the two 
sides and four in the two ends. The frames for the said doors and windows 
shah be the most durable timber, especially the doors, with double architraves, 
worked out of the solid and good stone sills, suitable for the doors, to be 
worked and prepared and fitted in said doors, in lieu of so much of the frame 
thereof. The house to be well corniced with a plain cornice, proportioned to 
the size of the house in heiglith. The rafters to be well framed into the joist, 
and of suitable size to their length and the magnitude of the building and cov- 
ered with shingles well nailed on sheathing plank joined together. The shin- 
gles not to be more than four inches wide eighteen inches long and not less 
than five-eights of an inch thick at the but, well jointed and rounded, to be 
made of cypress, catalpa, sassafras or walnut, or some kind of wood equally 
durable in the opinion of the Commissioners, and shall show only one-third 
part of their length or less. The inside of the building below siiall be well 
floored from the Judge's stand so tar forward as to include the lawyers. The 
bar to be of well quartered plank, made of oak or ash timbers, and the balance 
of the floor to be well laid -with brick placed edgewise. The Judge's seat to have 
a good flight of steps to ascend each end, to be ornamented with appropriate 

hand rails and banisters . the space for said seat shall be feet, well floored 

as below said seat, with a strong seat quite across, fitted into the Avail with 
arms raised thereon, imitating chairs, which are to be three in number. The 
front of said seat shall be ornamented with hand rails and banisters, with boards 
or tables whereon to write or put papers, etc. The newel posts to be capped 
otYwith appropriate mouldings, the hand rails and banisters to be ornamented, 
the first with mouldings and the latter to be turned in a lathe. The jury boxes 
to be four in number, and the lawyers' bar shall be made, formed and placed 
according to the directions of the Commissioners. They shall be made and 
composed of railing and banisters, as above mentioned, and shall have boards 
or tables whereon to write, put papers, etc., fixed on the front part of the bar, 
a suitable and convenient stair-case is to be formed with necessary hand-rails, 


banisters and ceiling, to ascend the second story, which story shall be di- 
vided into three rooms, two at the end of the house above the Judge's seat, and 
one at the other end, of such size as the Commissioners may direct, with a fire- 
place as aforesaid to the larger room, leaving a passage or entry between the 
rooms of each end across the width of the liouse, so jilanncd and i^laced and 
made as the Commissioners may direct. The upper floor, shall as the lower 
floor, be made of good lieart plank, of quartered oak or ash timber, at least 
one and one-quarter inch thick, tongued and grooved together, not less than 
one inch thick, quartered and plained on both sides, except the swinging pe- 
tition, which is to be ofpanneled work, and one and one-half inches thick, and 
furnished with bolts for fastenings. The upper doors shall be six pannels each, 
and well faced, each inside door and one outside door are to have suitable 
knob locks, proportioned to the size of the door, and the use. of said locks. 
The other outside door is to be well secured with a crOss-bar. The windows to 
the lower story shall be furnished with goodpanneled window shutters, at least 
one and one-quarter inches thick, each window to have two folds of three pan- 
nels each well hinged with suitable fastenings or hooks and catches on the 
inside thereof ; there shall be suitable chair-boards and wash-boards, both to 
the lower and upper rooms with appropriate mouldings. The ends of all the 
naked flooring shall be arched over on the brick work, so as to put on others 
hereafter without injuring the walls. Blind arches shall also be turned over 
the lintels of the doors and windows for the like purpose. The inside walls of 
the lower and upper rooms shall be plastered with good mortar — that is the 
work shall be well done, the plastering below shall be painted or stained as 
the Commissioners may direct, instead of being whitewashed. The joists of 
the lower and upper rooms shall be ceiled with good plank, not above four 
teen inches wide, and three-quarters of an inch thick at the best. The roof, 
windows and all the inside work of timber or plank shall be painted as the 
Commissioners shall direct. Finally all the timber and material of this build- 
ing shall be of the best quality, and the work done in the best possible manner. 
The walls of the house shall be built and the roof put on by the fifteenth day of 
October. 1813. The stair-case put up, the rooms of the upper story, the 
Judge's seat and lawyers' bar finished, and jury boxes made on or before the 
first day of April, 1814, and the whole work completed on or betore the first 
day of October, 1S14. The Commissioners reser\'e to themselves the right of 
directing the dimensions of the frame work and difl'erent timbers for the Court 

Mr. Barbour, the contractor, accepted the specifications, clearly 
of the opinion no doubt, that no misunderstanding could arise, if 
length and silly description in an instrument of writing was to be 
considered. He entered into bond with James Bell and Samuel Hop- 
kins, gentlemen, securities. The new temple was completed accord- 
ing to contract and dedicated to Justice, as perhaps the most magnifi- 
cent edifice to be found anywhere in the western wilds. It soon be- 
came the sine qua no7i, and at once most interesting to the inhabitants 
in general, A two-story brick house with a dwarfish bell on its roof, 


encased in a contrivance similar to a pigeon house, was one of those 
institutions too seldom seen to be hooted at. It was believed Justice 
came from this new temple m&re evenly balanced than when deliv- 
ered from the old school house. Attorneys donned new clothes, jurors 
were required at least to wash their faces before entering its sacred 
walls, while eloquence grew grand, and was dished out with lavish 
liberality. Yea, be it known, this costly structure, which came nigh 
being written to death in the beginning, seated upon a beautiful 
mound, a mound seemingly built for that purpose, was then the chief 
among the sights of the town. But the beauty of this new house, 
looming up in the morning sunshine and decreasing with the early 
twilight, was impaired by great forest trees in full leaves — old mon- 
archs, whose sap had left the root for the last time, undergrowth, 
stumps and other unsightly surroundings. To remedy this, at the 
November County Court, 1815, the first order concerning the im- 
provement of the Public Square was passed. It was " ordered that 
the nnprovement of the Court House square be let to the lowest bid- 
der. That the trees be topped, the ground grubbed and cleared of 
the brush, undergrowth, underwood and dead trees, and inclosed with 
a post and rail fence made of catalpa, sassafras, locust, mulberry or 
Cyprus timber, and large blocks placed at the four places facing the 
four sides of the Court House, of size to cross the fence. This work 
must be done in the best workman-like manner. JVo security will be 
required^ but the Commissioners will keep the money until the wotk is com- 


For several years, indeed from its completion, the large room in 
th^ second story of this Court House was used for all public pur- 
poses. It was the only hall in the town ; shows, concerts, balls, par- 
ties, dances and church entertainments were all held in this room. 
From some cause, which the records failed to explain, the Magis- 
trates in 1S20 became dissatified with this course,' and by order, 
placed the property under the control of the jailer, with peremptory 
instructions to clear the Court House of all incumbrances and en- 
croachments. The jailer, failing to comprehend the meaning of the 
court, a subsequent order, explanatory of the first, was passed, to wit : 
" The order heretofore passed by this court, directing the jailer to 
take possession of the Court House, and to remove therefrom all in- 
cumbrances and encroachments, is construed to apply only to play 
actors, but the house may be used for any decent uses or purposes." 


This order was a terrible blow to the few professionals who 
traveled in those early times, and whether it originated from a reli- 
gious opposition or dissatisfaction with one or more exhibitions, the 
record fails to tell. It is sufficient to know that it was a sweeping 
order, and if for the punishment of one or more troupes, eventuated 
in shutting out the whole fraternity. The new Court House was used 
until the year 1S22, without any expense to the county, but at the 
April County Court the following order was entered of record : " Or- 
dered that Obediah Brown and Daniel McBride be appointed com- 
missioners to have the Court House underpinned with brick where 
decayed, and a brick fioor laid down and the judge's seat underpinned 
with brick." 

This building: continued in the service of the courts of the 
county until 1843. 


At the x'^pril court, 1840, it was determined that the Court House 
was insufficient for the purpose of the county, whereupon it was " Or- 
dered that Thomas Towles, John G. Holloway, William Rankin, 
George Brown, James Powell and John D. Anderson be and the\- are 
hereby appointed a committee to inquire into the expediency and 
propriety of building a new Court House for this county; that they 
report apian for the same and the probable cost thereof, a majority 
of all the Justices in commission being present and concurring 

At the following October court the committee reported. Where- 
upon it was adjudged both expedient and necessary that a new Court 
House of sufficient capacity to meet the demands of the times should 
be built, but the plan and cost reported by the committee was re- 
jected. Yet the court included in the levy made at that meeting, the 
sum of thef two thousand seven hundred dollars to be set apart as the 
Court House fund. AtVhe February term, 1842, Edmund H. Hop- 
kins, William Rankin and William D. Allison were appointed com- 
missioners to draft a plan for a Court House and make a report of the 
probable cost thereof. At the April term the Commissioners re- 
ported, whereupon it was ordered, " That the said Commissioners, 
with Thos. Towles, Sr., added, are instructed to reconsider the report 
just made on the building of a Court House for the county, and so 
modify the same as in their discretion that the whole cost of the 
building shall not exceed — 



And that they advertise in someLpuisville and Evansville newspaper ; 
that the building of -the said Court House will be let to the "^west 
bidder at next May County Court." 

At the May court the following order was made: "Ordered 
that Edmund H. Hopkins, James Rouse, Willie Sugg and Larkin White 
be appointed commissioners to let the building of a new Court House 
according to the plan and specifications submitted to the court by Ed- 
mund H. Hopkins, Thomas Towles and William Rankin, and this day 
having been duly advertised and made known, as the day for letting 
the building of said new Court House. It is further ordered that the 
said Commissioners proceed to let the same forthwith at public auction 
to the lowest bidder, and take bond with security to be approved by 
the court." 

The new plan and specifications were received by the court and 
adopted, a majority of all the Justices being present and concurring. 
Littleberry Weaver became the undertaker at and for the sum of nine 
thousand four hundred dollars. At the same time the following order 
was passed : " Ordered that the Commissioners heretofore appointed 
to secure a plan for a nev^? Court House are continued, and hereby 
empowered, authorized and directed to sell the old Court House at 
public auction to the highest bidder upon a credit until the first day 
of March, 1843, taking bond and requiring the purchaser to remove 
the same by a day to be named and fixed by the court. It is further 
ordered that Edmund H. Hopkins be and he is appointed a commit- 
tee to superintend the building of the new Court House, whose duty 
it shall be to examine all material, inspect and superintend the work 
as it p/ogresses, and see that the same be done faithfully according to» 
contract, and for these services and* for drawing the plans and specifi- 
cations of the house to be built, he is to be allowed the sum of four 
hundred and twenty-five dollars." 

In the month of June the old Court House was dismantleed, 
torn away and work begun on the new house. It became necessary 
then that some suitable building should be secured for the purposes 
of the court, and to that end a lease for a time was affected with the 
Trustees of the Baptist Church, which had been built and completed 
this same year, to be paid for at the rate of one hundred and fifty dol- 
lars per year. The church was used until October, 1843, when the 
keys of the new Court House were turned over by the contractors, and 
the building received by the county. James Bacon was the contractor 


for the wood-work, assisted by Philip Van Bussum. John F. Toy did 
the painting, A bell costing one hundred and sixty dollars was pur- 
chased and hung in the cupalo by Philip Van Bussum. That same 
bell still hangs, and for the last sixteen years has struck the hours 
to the great comfort and convenience of the population. The speci- 
fications of this building can not be found, and as for the plan, 
the building is yet towering in its majesty and is likely to remain tlie 
recognized temple of justice for many years to come. The original 
roof was made of slate, but in November, 1849, the Sheriff was directed 
to pay Barak Brashear and Alfred Oliver the sum of four hundred and 
fifty dollars for removing the slate from the roof and re-covering the 
same with shingles. Several changes were made in the original plan, 
for one of which Mr. Weaver was paid five hundred dollars. From 
the amount of caution and taste exercised in completing this building, 
it would seem that this new and handsome edifice would meet all of 
the demands of the most fastidious, but judging from the following- 
sarcastic order entered by the Clerk of the County Court at the Octo- 
ber meeting, 1845 — in some particulars, at least — the reverse seems 
to have been the case : *' Ordered, That Littleberry Weaver, for cut- 
ting stone and lumber, and making platform in the Court house, called 
a bar, but looking more like a bake oven, and then removing the same, 
it being found useless, inconvenient and exceedingly unsightly, one 
hundred and twentv dollars and sixtv-four cents." 

The new Court House was not only large and convenient, but it 
was most graciously arranged for all the public purposes, particularly 
so for dancing. The young people of the town was delighted, of 
course, and as a consequence, social balls and hops were frequently 
held in the new building Anti-Socialists lived in those days, as well as 
now, and when their cynical blood became heated from intentional or 
unintentional slight, they very naturally, intensified their deformities 
of disposition by a reckless appeal to the pen, which they in all life, 
have regarded as mightier than the sword. Among the many anony- 
mous articles addressed to the honorable court concerning the use of 
the building for dances and such like, the following is, perhaps, the 
most characteristic. We copy verbatim : 

^^ To the Honorable County Court : 

" Gentlemen — As you are the guardians of the public property 
of the county, and as it is your duty to see that this property is not de- 
stroyed or misused, I beg leave to call your attention to the danger 
to which the Court House is exposed by being used as a datice house. 
Many of your body perhaps are not aware that the house is used almost 
every week by a company called a Social Club for the purpose of danc- 


ing^ yet such is the fact, for the truth of which I refer you to some of 
the members of your honorable body, by being thus used. The walls 
in a short time will become damaged and need repairs. Who will 
pay for these repairs, the Social Club or the Taxpayers ? The fires, I 
understand, are left to take care of themselves, no one member of 
the so-called Social Club taking it upon himself to see to them. Should 
the house burn down through carelessness, the County Court will find 
it their business to rebuild it, for the Club will not be apt to do so. 
On several occasions I understand the use of the house has been asked 
for for the purpose of holding religious worship. Does preaching the 
Gospel within the walls do the house any injury ? It was said at the 
time by those who objected to it, that it was not built for a meeting 
house. So I think myself, but still I do not think it was built for a 
Da?ice House. They also said there were plenty of churches in town 
to preach in. So there is ; and there is also public houses enough in 
town to dance in. The Court House should not be used for either. 
Many also objected to its being used for a public exhibition of the 
scholars connected with one of your schools, a matter of far more im- 
portance to the public than the drawing of cat gut and the bloivijig of 
pipes. The house was built for the purpose of holding the courts in it. 
Let it be so used. It cost about ten thousand dollars, and it should 
therefore be well taken care of and not used for any other purpose than 
what it was designed for when built. The whole county is interested 
in this matter, and not merely a few in town. In conclusion, I ask 
your honorable body to look well into this matter. You now have 
timely warning of the danger to which the house is exposed, and in you 
is vested the remedy. Will you apply it .'* By so doing you will comply 
with the wishes of more than one. 

" December, 22, 1845." 

Taxpayer was no doubt one those easy whittling kind who watched 
all of the points of public and private interest, except those which 
most concerned himself. He evidently had been black-balled bv the 
" Social Club " and was not held in high esteem bv the church. He 
was a selfish fellow, for he opposed the using of the Court House 
even for religious purposes ; but then he was a smarter cuss than he 
would have the world believe in his disguised epistle to the court. 
His complaint, consistent as it appeared, failed to attract the attention 
of the court. Flitting feet, inspired by the '' Draiving of Cat Gut^'' 
and ''^Blowing of Pipes " continued to revel in terpchicorean pleasure, 
and religious denominations used the house whenever they pleased, to 
the disgust of this perhaps " Poll Tax " payer. But at the October 
court, 1852, the following was passed : " Ordered, that the jailer shall 
not hereafter suffer or permit the Court House or any room thereof 
to be used for any show or exhibition for a sight of which any 



money is charged. Nor shall he rent or let said building, or any room 
or any apartment thereof, to any painter, daguerreotypest, musician 
necromancer, spiritual rappings, jugglers, rope dancers, slight-of-hand 
performance, or any other monte bank whatever." 

At the same court a six-foot gravel walk was ordered to be made 
around the foot of the incline. This was the first walk of any impor- 
tance ever ordered by the county around the square. At the October 
court, 1853, the sweeping order of 1852 was modified by authorizing 
the jailer to let the building to any religious denomination. This 
now old building has been the scene, in its time, of social occasions 
both charming and brilliant. Many persons living can turn over 
memories' leaves and find recorded some of the happiest hours of life 
spent within the walls of that old temple, dedicated to Blackstone and 
other matchless masters. Many young hearts bursting with love have 
been soothed beneath its roof. Many young student, whose heart 
tickled his throat, has met his success or re^'-erse there. Political 
hacks have been hatched in its rostrum, while eloquence and oratory 
have caused its walls to resound the thundering applause of an excited 
and gratified multitude. 

Its bar was the professional battle ground of a host of brilliant 
men — Towles, Dixon, Powell, Cook, McHenry, the Barbours, Crock- 
ett, Cissell, Hughes, the Dallams, the Yeamans, Turner, Bunch, Glass, 
Kinney, Vance and a host of others, while the ermine was graced by 
' such shining lights as McLean, Shackelford, Stites, Dabney, Calhoun, 
Cook, Fowler and others. In 1857, a necessity for the alteration of 
the interior plan of the house manifested itself so apparently, the 
court at its September sitting ordered, '* That John T. Bunch, L. W. 
Brown, W. D. Allison, James H. Priest, L. W. Powell and Henry F. 
Turner be- appointed commissioners to examine the Court House, and 
report what alterations and repairs are in their opinion necessary, and 
a plan of such alterations, and the probable cost of the whole work, 
and how long it will take to complete the same." 

At the September court the Commissioners reported a plan not 
to exceed in cost fifteen hundred dollars. Justices Hiram Turner, B. 
D. Cheatham, W. H, Cunningham, William E. Bennett, E. F. Hazel- 
wood and Y. E. Allison, Judge of the County Court, voted for the 
motion made to adopt the plan and directing said alterations and im- 
provements to be made. Justices B. T. Martin, Isham Cottingham, 
H. L. Cheaney and William S. Hicks voted in the negative. The 
motion prevailed, but upon consultation, it was thought best to defer 
the whole matter until a fuller court could meet. October following, 


the aforesaid Commissioners were removed and the following order 
passed : " Ordered that John ^. Bunch, Y. E. Allison, William D. 
Allison, William E. -Lambert and Philip Van Bussum be appointed 
commissioners to draft and fix upon a plan for the alteration and im- 
provement of the interior of the Court House, and let the same to the 
lowest bidder." This motion was concurred in unanimously. From 
some reason these Commissioners failed to do their duty, as will be 
seen from the following March court, 1858 : "The Commissioners 
appointed by the court to draft a plan, and have the interior of the 
Court House repaired, having failed to act, it is now ordered that 
the said Committee be removed, and that Barak Brashear, L. W. 
Brown, H. F. Turner, John W. Crockett, F. H. Dallam and I. G. 
Livers, be appointed a committee to act in the place of those removed, 
and they proceeded to act forthwith." At the April court following, 
the Commissioners reported a plan and specifications made by J. J. 
Kriss, architect, which were adopted. The contract was awarded L 
G. Livers, and one thousand dollars ordered to be paid him for mak- 
ing the improvements. The interior of the building was completely 
overhauled, and made both comfortable and convenient. The 
Judge's stand was removed to the center of the rear wall, handsome 
tables inclosed by a nicely finished iron railing, were placed in front 
of the Judge for the use of the Clerk, a large space in front and on 
both sides of the Judge and Clerk was set apart for the use of the bar, 
this also was inclosed by a handsome iron railing outside of the bar; 
the entire interior, with the exception of ample passageways, was pro- 
vided with seats elevated one above another from the floor to the 
wall. The improvement was a grand one, springing from the old 
open brick concern, as cold in winter as the north end of an arctic 
blizzard, to a modernized interior comfortably and conveniently ar- 
ranged. This, now much to be enjoyed building, was used until the 
second year of the war, when it was taken by the soldiery and occu- 
pied as a military headquarters, a prison house, hospital, cook-house 
and a means defensive against the attacks of the enemy. While 
many court houses throughout the State and adjoining counties were 
burned to the ground by one side or the other of the enemy, this old 
veteran was permitted to stand, presenting at the close of the war, 
unbroken walls and columns, but an indescribably mutilated interior. 
Pews and benches, flooring and other necessary appendages had been 
sacrificed to the flames or whittled into ingenious trinkets. Its ruth- 
less inmates had laid destroying hands upon evidences of value, torn 


from its walls the beauties of architecture, and knifed into shape- 
less confusion the bench from which justice had been delivered. As 
a result of this unwarranted deviltry upon the part of those whose 
duty it was to protect, and not to destroy, the following, which ap- 
pears of record in the fall 1865, will explain : " His Honor, C. W. 
Hutchen, Judge of Henderson County, having had the Justices of the 
county summoned to meet, the following answered to their names : 
Richard Keach, Hiram Turner, P. H. Lockett, Charles C. Eades, 
John F. Toy, C. S, Royster, William C. Green, F. E. Walker, and C. 
C. Ball." Judge Hutchen explained the object of the meeting to be 
for devising ways and means for repairing and re-organiznig the Court 
House, which had been rendered worthless from causes growing out 
of the late war. Thereupon the following order was entered of re- 
cord : " Ordered, that the sum of five thousand dollars be appro- 
priated to the remodeling and repairing of the Court House, and that 
P. H. Lockett, Henry F. Turner and C. W. Hutchen be appointed 
commissioners to devise plans and have said work done. It is further 
ordered that the said Commissioners will not begin said work until 
they have consulted with an advisory board hereby appointed, consist- 
ing of Richard Keach, C. S. Royster, Thomas B. Long, Hiram Turner, 
Charles C. Ball, William W. Shelby, Frank E. Walker and John F. 
Toy. When said advisory board are satisfied that the war is over 
and that the house will not again be occupied by soldiers and that 
martial law is repealed, and shall so express themselves to the Com- 
missioners heretofore appointed, then they are authorized to act. 
Ordered, that Y. E. Allison, Adam Rankin and William Green be ap- 
pointed a committee to borrow on the credit of the county the said 
sum of five thousand dollars, bearing interest not to exceed 8 per 

This set of Commissioners it seems failed to make a satisfactory 
report, and at the March term, 1866, the following order was passed : 
" Ordered, that a committee of three be appointed, whose duty it shall 
be to employ an architect, who shall draw under the direction of said 
committee, a plan and specifications, which plan, if adopted by the 
court, shall be carried into effect, said committee to advertise, let, and 
have built, the alterations necessary to the improvement, and perfect- 
ing the Court House in Henderson County. It is further ordered 
that the sum of twelve thousand dollars be, and is hereby appropri- 
ated for the purpose of reconstructing and repairing the interior of 
the building. It is further ordered, that the committee consist of 


Henry F. Turner, Jesse Lame and Charles C. Eades, and that they 
are authorized to borrow that amount on the faith of the county, 
at a rate of interest not exceeding- 10 per cent, for the purpose afore- 

At the May term, 1865, the committee reported a plan and speci- 
fications, whereupon the following order was passed : " Ordered, that 
the report of the building committee this day made, and the plans 
and specifications of the architects, Mursinna and Boyd, as now shown 
to the court, be received and adopted, and that the building committee, 
to-wit : Messrs. Turner, Eads and Lame, be and they are hereby 
clothed with power to either let the building, repairing and recon- 
structing of the Court House, at either puplic or private contract, or 
have the same done under their supervision and control. It is fur- 
ther ordered that Frank E. Walker be and he is appointed a commit- 
tee to borrow any sum of money necessary to complete the repairs 
and reconstructing of the Court House, upon the best terms he can 
at any rate of interest not exceeding 10 per cent per annum, and 
pledge the faith of the county for the redemption of the same, and 
that he pay the same out on the order of the building committee." 

The internal arrangement of the building was completely revolu- 
tionized by the architects, the lower story, which had always prior to 
that time been used as a court room, was now divided into four lart^e 
rooms, with halls between and the Circuit Court room moved to the 
second story. The County and Circuit Clerks' offices were left be- 
low, but moved from two brick rooms forming an ell to the house into 
the main building. In this change a large vault was built for the pur- 
pose of preserving the records of the county against fire. The brick 
work was done by Weaver and Digman, the carpenter work by James 
H. Johnson. At the December term, 1866, the building committee 
reported the work completed according to contract, and the same was 
received in discharge of the original contract. 

The old temple was once more agreed to be as good as new, and 
far more convenient and comfortable than ever before. The Circuit 
Court room, now located in the second story, proves easy of ventilation, 
the breezes roll, in undisturbed waves, through its large openin^^s dur- 
ing the heat of summer, and are controlled by ordinary fires durino- 
the cold months of winter. Located high up above the sins of the 
world, eloquence towers over the heads of the populace, and the keen 
call of the Sheriff can be recognized for squares. How long this old 


building will serve the people or supply the demands of these times 
of railroads and electricity, no one can tell ; suffice it to say, before 
another history is written we shall see a stone structure standing in 
its place worthy of the great county. 



TN the two preceding chapters I have given a complete history of 
^ the county jails and court houses, beginning with the rude log hut 
used in 1799 and ending with the present magnificent building, stand- 
ing in beautiful prominence on Court Square. 

Doubtless this has proved uninteresting, and many may say it might 
have been left out. It is a material part of the county's history, 
however, and in the judgment of the local historians, if their work is 
to be accredited, is most worthy of being perpetuated. 

The county has greatly changed since the lonely debtor sat in 
gloomy suspense in his prison room, situated in a log cabin, no better, 
and perhaps not so good as a majority of the stables of the county, 
brooding over a reckless disregard of credit extended him. Indeed 
has the county changed. Where wolves and wild animals roamed un- 
molested, where flocks of wild fowls picked berries from the unculti- 
vated hillsides and valleys, we now see green fields dotted with im- 
proved breeds of cattle and sheep. 

Where by-paths, trails and traces used to guide the hunj:er 
through the forests, we now see a cleared country, with main roads 
and cross roads, webbing the county from its extreme northeastern 
to its extreme southeastern corner. 

In place of bringing the mails from Hopkinsville on horseback 
once a week, the iron horse now rushes over his iron roadway, ex- 
changing the mails as often as once, twice and thrice a day. We 
might go on and enumerate until wearied and worn, lay down and 
" nap it " for a new beginning. 


The clerks' offices of the county, as yet unassociated with any 
chapter of this work, are no less important in many respects than 
those already mentioned. 

The records kept by the first clerk of the county failed to men- 
tion his official habitation. Whether he abode his time at Bradley's 
Tavern or in one secluded corner of the old school house, or carried 
his office in his coat tail pocket, is a matter of which we shall never 
know more than we now do, unless some expert spiritualist should 
hold converse with the spirit of that departed and long ago pulver- 
ized official. Even then should this cunning manipulator of messages 
from the spirit world meet the historical grievance, so common to all 
compilers of ancient records and traditionary testimony, face to face, 
it is likely that he would soon discover his inability to enlighten his 
anxious auditory. Old age in human kind is a terrible infirmity and 
terribly damaging to the faculty of memory. Presuming that old 
spirits are as averse to the worry of recalling long lost events and as 
inaccurate in dates and locations as old mortals, we are prone to be- 
lieve from experience had with the latter class, that the entranced 
medium would meet with but little headway in his spiritual interview, 
for the gentleman from whom he could hope to get his information has 
been dead, lo, these eighty-three years. The question naturally arises, 
" is the memory of an old spirit brighter than that of an old mortal ?" 
and this question I decline to entertain, leaving it to our learned 
theologians, determined at all times to give a hearty amen to what 
they may say coHcerning it. 

But about the first clerk's office : it must have been a shabby af- 
fair, for we learn from the records that Mr. John D. Haussman, the 
first clerk of the county, presented a bill to the first Court of Claims 
in November, 1779, amounting to thirteen dollars and eighty-nine 
cents for office rent and clerk's services, from the time of his ap- 
pointment in the previous June. Twelve years after this, and some 
years after the death of Mr. Haussman, Ambrose Barbour, Clerk of 
the^ Court of Quarter Sessions and County Court, presented a bill to 
the court, then sitting as a Court of Claims, in November, 1811, 
which read as follows : 

Ambrose Barbour vs. County — 

To ofiice rent since November 1 , 1810, one year $20 00 

This account includes house rent and office articles, such as chairs, tables, etc. 
To paper, ink, quills, etc 17 00 

From this it is reasonably safe to conclude that office rents, tables 
and chairs were cheap in those days, or else paper, ink and quills 
were reasonably enormous. 


In 1813 the first Court House was built, and an order passed 
some time prior to that eventful year, was enforced — that is, that the 
office of the clerk of the court Should not be over a square from the 
court building. Upon the application of Mr. Barbour he was per- 
mitted to remove his office into the second story of the new Court 

Here he continued until his death in 1822. Harrison H. Grixby 
succeeded to the office and held this room until his death in 1824. 
William D. Allison succeeded to the office, and live years afterwards 
was successful in securing from the County Court an order directing 
the building of suitable offices for the purpose of the courts of the 
county. A committee consisting of Wm. D. Allison, Edmunds H. 
Hopkins and one or two others were appointed to draft a plan and 

This was done, and the plan adopted by the court, with instruc- 
tions to the committee to receive bids and contract for said work. 

A short time thereafter the contract was awarded to Mr. James 
Alves, and the work of building commenced. The building cost nine 
hundred and fifty dollars, and was completed a few months after it 
had been contracted for. A large majority of the readers of this 
book remember it, for it stood as an ell with two rooms extending out 
from the main building in the direction of the Public Square, and was 
used and occupied up to the year 1866, the time the Court House 
now standing was completely remodeled. When this old-time deposi- 
tory of record evidences was rased to the ground one of the principal 
land marks of the county was destroyed ; the prestine headquarters of 
social gatherings, the meeting place of jokers, the auditorium where 
gathered musicians and mirth-provoking masters, the seclude of con- 
vival hospitality, all of these and more too,, found a welcome pastime 
within the walls and beneath the roof of this primitive judicial addi- 
tament. If bricks could only talk, if they could only be interviewed, 
what a wealth of wit and humor now lost forever, would be disclosed. 
Each brick could a tale unfold, whose very telling would revive old 
memories and cause even the stoic indifferent to loosen the pegs of 
his boots in convulsive laughter. But it is too late, Old Time has 
consigned most of these humorous incidents to the tomb of the 
Capulets, while those yet remembered come in such a questionable 
shape as to render their accuracy a matter of very great doubt. Hun- 
dreds of men have gone from their old retreat happier than the sport- 
ing lamb, bearing with them the legal warrant to blend two souls into 


one ; hundreds have gone therefrom confident in the justice of law, 
while there are others who have left it with broken purses, if not 
broken hearts. All of the vicissitudes of life have been witnessed 
there, and it is a pity that those old walls, for old acquaintance sake, 
might not have been permitted to stand for generations to come. 

In 1866, when the internal design of the Court House had been 
completely changed, and the Circuit Court room and jury rooms re- 
moved into the second story of the building, the Circuit and County 
Clerks' offices were located in rooms on the first floor. Nine years 
afterward it was deemed necessary to make a change occasioned by 
the growing demands of the county, and thereupon, at the August 
meeting of the County Court, 1875, a committee appointed at a former 
court to consider the advisability of such change, and a suitable plan, 
reported. The report of the committee was adopted, and, " upon 
motion of Thomas Spencer, a sum not exceeding three thousand dol- 
lars, to be appropriated out of the levy of 1874, was set aside for the 
purpose of building an addition to the Court House and improve the 
vaults for the safe-keeping of the records of the county. Judge P. 
H Lockett and P. B. Tribble were appointed a committee to procure 
plans and report. Judge P. H. Lockett, J. M. Stone, David Banks, 
Jr.; J. E. Denton and G. W. Smith were appointed a building com- 
mittee to contract for and superintend the building of said addition, 
and authorized to draw orders on the Sheriff of the county for the 
payment of the same as the work progressed." 

The contract was let to P. B. Tribble, and a short time thereafter 
a handsome two-story wing was built, and the lower wing set apart for 
the office of the Circuit Court Clerk and the records of his office. 

Adjoining this room was built, at the same time, a large, roomy 
and conveniently arranged brick vault for the safe-keeping of all the 
records and papers of the office. 

This building, a two-story one, planned with an eye to symmetry of 
architectural design and harmony with the main building, added greatly 
to the appearance of Court Hill, but rather left it in an unfinished ap- 
pearance. It was said by many, who professed to possess a knowl- 
edge of architecture, and a taste for harmony in such matters, to 
resemble too closely, a cow with one horn. 


This complaint, however, was soon remedied, and all causes for 
fault-finding was entirely removed. The office of the County Clerk 


became cramped, the vault had rapidly filled up and was growing too 
small day by day; other offices were needed, and above all, a room 
was badly wanted for the purp-^se of the sessions of the County Court 
and the semi-annual terms of the grand jury. To this end, therefore, 
and for the additional purpose of completing the original architectural 
design of having one handsome and roomy building for all purposes 
of the county, at the October court, of 1880, the following order was 
made : 

" On motion it was ordered that the County Judge appoint a 
building committee to investigate into the necessity for building a wing 
to the Court House, for a County Clerk's office and grand jury room, 
said committee to report at the February term of this court, where- 
upon the following were appointed such committee : Samuel R. Hop- 
kins, J. M. Stone and J. W. Eakins. At the March, 1881, term, the 
committee reported that they considered the building of a clerk's office 
and grand jury room a necessity." 

This report was received and approved, and by a unanimous vote 
of the court then sitting, it was determined to build the same. 

The following order was then passed : " Ordered, that an addi- 
tional levy of five cents on the one hundred dollars be made to pay 
for the addition heretofore ordered, and that Samuel R. Hopkins, J. 
W. Eakins and J. M. Stone, be appointed a committee to procure a 
plan and let out the building of said addition. That Judge P. H. 
Lockett and J. M. Stone be appointed a committee to borrow a suffi- 
cient sum of money to pay for the same, until the amount levied at 
this term can be collected by the Sheriff of the county." 

P. B. Tribble furnished the plan and specifications, and upon ex- 
amination, the same were adopted by the committee. John Mundo 
being the lowest bidder, the work of building was awarded to him, and 
W. H. Sandefur appointed superintendent of the work. This addi- 
tion cost the county a little over two thousand and two hundred dol- 
lars, and was completed and occupied by the County Clerk before the 
fall of 1881. It has been said of the County Clerk's office, that it 
has adjoining a magnificient fire-proof vault, large enough to accom- 
modate the business of the county for many years to come. 

This completes the public buildings of the county, so far as the 
courts and their necessary adjuncts are concerned, and leaves the 
county at this time the possessor of an imposing structure, which it is 
presumed will serve all purposes for years to come. In the one main 
building and the two wings, are now located the offices of the Circuit 
and County Court Clerks ; the County Judge, with a fire-proof vault 


for all the records of his office ; the Sheriff, County Treasurer, Mas- 
ter Commissioner, and the two City District Magistrates. In the 
second story of the west wing is a handsome room fitted up for 
the use of the meetings of the County Court and grand juries. In 
the second story of the main building, are the Circuit Court and jury 




pZ^AVING given a history of the main thoroughfares, Court Houses^ 
^ / jails and offices of the county from their beginning in 1799, to the 
present time, I return to the second meeting of the County Court held 
in August of that j^ear. Having disposed of all road and public 
building matters brought before them, the court proceeded to enter- 
tain such motions of minor interest as any citizen or any member of 
the court may have thought for the general good, or legally required 
to come before it. 


A motion was made to establish rates for the government of all 
taverns of the county. The following is a copy of the order: 


The court fixes the tavern rates in this county as follows : 

Breakfast and Supper, each is 

Dinner is 6d 

Lodging 6d 

Corn per gallon, or Oats 9d 

Hay or fodder, per night and stabl cage Is 6d 

Pastureage 4 d J^s 

Whiskey per gallon , I2s 

Drink, per half-pint 2d 

Brandy per gallon I8s 

Beer and Cider, per quart is 


Isaac Dunn, a poor orphan, and represented to be a bad boy, was 
apprenticed to John Sutton to learn a trade. This young man en- 
joyed the honor of having been the first person apprenticed in the 


county. The first appeal from a Magistrate's Court was that of An. 
drew Burk, 7^s. Wiley Thornton, made to this term of the court. The 
first indenture of sale, Samuel Hopkins to John Husbands, was 
acknowledged in this court. The first record evidence of slaves was 
made at this court. 

At the September court, Robert Hamilton produced a license 
from examiners appointed by law to practice as an attorney in the 
Courts of the Commonwealth. Mr. Hamilton was the first lawyer 
licensed to practice in the county. 


A certificate of emancipation of a negro woman and a negro man, 
named respectively, Patience and Scipio, belonging to Joseph Mayes, 
of Henrico County, Virginia, was filed and ordered to be recorded. 
The county being without a record book, and also a seal, the follow- 
ing order was made : " Ordered, that the clerk furnish this county 
with the necessary record book, likewise procure a seal, with a devise 
of a man standing with a sickle in his hand, with words ' Henderson 
County, ' for the circumspection of the court, and a chest to hold the 
record books and papers belonging to the county." 

At the November term of the County Court there were present : 
Charles Davis, John Husbands and Jacob Newman, gentlemen Jus. 
tices. John D. Haussman, Clerk of the Court of Quarter Sessions for 
the County, made oath to, and filed an account amounting to two dol- 
lars and seventy-five cents, of taxes alienations and county sales from 
the commencement of his office, June, 1799, to the first day of Octo- 
ber last, which was ordered to be certified to the Auditor. This be- 
ing the first Court of Claims the court proceeded to lay the county 
levy and stated the accounts against the county as follows : 


For building the jail «339.00 

To the Clerk for his office and services as per account 13.89 

To the same for three record books and freight on same from the Falls of the 

Ohio 30.75 

The same for the County seal 8.00 

TotheSherifE 30.00 

To the same for his services in tlie County Court 25.00 

Sherilt commissions for collecting ^499.50, at 6 per cent. 30.00 

The County ....$476.64 

By 333 tithables at f 1.50 each, levied for the use of the County ^499.86 

Ball « 23.22 


*' Ordered^ that the Sheriff of this county collect from each tithable person 
in this county, one dollar and fifty cents, and therewith discharge the above 
allowances and account with the coiy;t for the balance." 

From the foregoing it will be seen that the tax-paying population 
of the county in November, 1799, was only three hundred and thirty- 
three, and that the tax levied was one dollar and fifty cents per head. 
For some time the tax duplicates increased slowly, and the delinquent 
list was distressingly large. As has been said before, the records of 
the county from the beginning of the year 1800 to 1816, are lost, so 
for the time during that break, I have filled the gap as best could' be, 
from such assistance as was to be obtained from old papers and scraps 
of evidence found bundled away in the County Clerk's office. 


In 1792, Viengmand Courteis built him a small log hut on the 
river bank and traded in hides and skins of all kinds. 

What he did with them, or where he found a market, we shall 
never know. He bought mostly bear and otter skins. What he ex- 
changed for these skins we do not know. In those days French trad- 
ers occasionally passed down the river and to these perhaps he ex- 
changed his merchandize for money or other articles of value. 

In 1796 he was joined by Conrad Figis. At this time Captain 
Dunn was the only recognized officer of the law known in all of this 
territory, and owing to the increase of settlers the following order was 
sent him by the Senior Justice: 

"Christian County, State of Kentucky. 
"To Mr. John Dunn : 

'' Sir— You will raise three men to act under you as a patrol in said county 
at the Red Banks, to do your duty agreeably to law. September 2o, I796. 

" Signed, MOSES SHELBY." 

dunn's store. 
Captain Dunn was a man of great importance at that time, from 
the fact of his official position, and also that he was the proprietor of 
the only store in the Red Banks. His house was located on the cor- 
ner of Fourth and Main Streets, where the old foundry now stands, 
and from record evidences it is to be adjudged that he did pretty 
much all the business at that time. The following is a copy of one 
of his accounts : 

'■'■ Jesse Stmmonds, Dr. to John Dunn : 

"1 lb. powder 7-6 £0 7 « 

2 bear skins, loaned in exchange ' " 12 


1 quait cherry bounce, 4-6 ' 0. 4. 6. 

£1. 4. 0. 
"Sir— Please to pay tlic above bill to Robert Simpson, .and this shall be your re- 

"Attest: Ebknkzku Simpson. JOHN DUNN. 

"June 24, 1794." 


The first school, of which anything is known, was taught some- 
where in the neighborhood of Diamond Island, and whether this Dia- 
mond Island was either of the islands near Henderson, or Diamond 
Island sixteen miles below, no one can speak with any degree of cer- 
tainty. Captain Dunn was a patron of this school, as the following 
will show : 

" Captain John Dunn; * 

" Sir — Please pay Mr. Russell Hewitt, or order, ten shillings, yourquar- 
terly subscription to my school, at the Diamond Island, and this shall be yoiu- 
sufficient receipt. Signed, HENRY PATMERS 

"October 2G, 1794. Test: John Devritt," 

In the year 1795 the following curious bill of sale Dassed title in 
a horse : 
♦' Knoii) All Men by these Presents : 

*'That I, Robert Simpson, do give, grant and sell, and convey to John 
Dunn, one bay mare, about fourteen hands high, in consideration of twenty 
pounds paid to me in hand, the same creature I lent to John Patterson to hunt 
on. I likewise authorize John Dunn to take the same mare wherever he can 

find her, and at my risque. 


"Attest: Uel Lambkin, Daniel Kerr 

" 29, December, 1795." 


In this same year, Hugh Knox, who was appointed the 
the first Justice of the Court of Quarter Sessions, and a man of 
strong mind and great will-power, got himself into quite a financial 
trouble for those times, by indulging his ungovernable disposition for 
practical jokes. Mr. Knox was a man full of life and fire, and would be 
considered by the more settled people of this day, what is commonly 
denominated a "fast man." The following letter addressed to Peter 
Smith, near Louisville, is reproduced, more on account of its historical 
connection, than as a literary curiosity. At that time our grand juries 
met in the town of Russellville, Logan County, in what was called the 
District Court, and residents of the Red Banks — now Henderson — had 
to ride through the wild woods, a distance of one hundred miles, when 
summoned, to attend as parties or witnesses, in criminal or civil actions. 
From this letter, also, will be seen the difficulties parties had to un- 




dergo in procuring legal service. This letter was sent to Louisville by 
hand : 


*' Dear Sir — I have hitherto neglected informing you what happened me 
at Logan Cort, in consequence of our Kuyckingdall frolick. The old Jezebel 
was there and presented me to the grand jury, by little Hugh White, making 
oath that Michael Sprinkle and I were the men that don the execution, upon 
which a Cort was Cauled in fiv^e days after, in which time I had to ride sixty 
miles for a lawyer, to which I had to give a fee oi fifty dollars, and was acquit- 
ted with honor. With that and the other expenses of witnesses, amounts to 
ten dollars a man. which they have all agreed to bear an equal part of the bur- 
den, and the most of them has paid me. If you will be so good as to bear 
part of the burden with me, I shall be obliged to you. and shall take the amount 
of the ten dollars in corn or flour at Louisville, at the market price. I shall 
send an order by Captain John Dunn, which you will discharge at this time, 
as I stand in great need of bread at the salt works that I am opening. The 
favor shall be greatly acknowledged by your very humble servant. 

" Mr. Pete Smith H. KNGX 

"July 20. 1795." 

In order to get this ten dollor's worth of corn or flour, Captain 
Dunn went to Louisville and carried the same back to the salt works, 
on Highland Creek, for which he only charged the moderate sum of 
five dollars. 


The first grist mill of which anything is known, was built by 
Captain Dunn, in the year 1796, and was operated by him up to his 
death a few years afterwards. For several years this was the only 
mill in the settlement, and where it was located, or what character of 
a mill it was, the records fail to explain. In Captain Dunn's old 
account book, a little blank paper affair, with a thin, blue paper back, 
six inches long and four inches wide, is to be found seven accounts 
against the following persons, respectively : Richard Taylor, John 
Christian, Andrew Rowen, Walter Thorn, Hugh Knox, Michael Sprin- 
kle and Peter Thorn — all for grinding and packing. His usual charge 
for this work was three shillings sixpence per bushel. The charge 
for " packing " was taking the meal in sacks on horseback from the 
mill to the home of the purchaser. So, from this, it will be seen that 
the system of " delivering goods " was adopted at the Red Banks as 
early as the year 1796. 


While Captain Dunn was busy with his mill and official business, 
Mrs. Hannah Dunn, his efficient helpmate, was occuppied in watching 
the store and little tavern on the corner of Fourth and Main Streets. 



She must have been a woman of indominable energy and great mus- 
cular strength. Oftentimes, in addition to her daily labors, she was 
known to do a man's work chopping cordwood, heavy lifting, and many 
other things nowadays men would consider too laborious, to say noth- 
ing of the women of 1887. She was as fearless as she was energetic, 
and during her husband's absence would go into the woods, attack 
bear, and most generally bring one home with her. Nor was this all, 
she was no more afraid of a man than she was of a bear, and many 
times she was known to take an overdosed, quarrelsome, wild, wild 
woodsman by the nap of his neck and lift him from the bar-room out 
of the tavern. She was boss, and never failed to impress her author- 
ity whenever occasion demanded it. 


At that time what is known as Henderson County, was called 
the '* Big Barrens," from the fact that little timbers grew over the 
county, save along the water courses. 

Owing to the scarcity of salt, that necessary commodity sold at 
an enormously high price, ten dollars per bushel being the regular 
price, while in many cases as high as fifteen and twenty dollars was 

People had a curious' way of writing receipts. Here is a speci- 
men : 

" Receipt from John McCallister, 

8 bu salt on account of John Dunn, 
I say receipt by me this Jany 7, 1796, 

Most all receipts at that time were written in the same peculiar 

Much of the country immediately around Henderson was low and 
marshy, and stagnant water stood in ponds and low places, conse- 
quently the whole settlement suffered from ague and fever. 


At this time there were few physicians, and from what can be 
learned they were uneducated and really knew but little more than 
any other observing or experimenting settler. Dr. James Hamilton, 
a man of fine natural and considerable acquired intelligence, prac- 
ticed, and was regarded as really the only physician of any respecta- 
bility, until the coming of Dr. Adam Rankin, in 1800. 


For sometime prior to the organization of the county, and for 
many years afterwards, Eneas McCallister, father of the lamented 
'Squire John E. McCallister, did the duty of parson on marital oc" 


casions. He was one of the first magistrates, and was authorized by 
the County Court to perform that service. In 1800 he married Cap- 
tain Daniel McBride and Mary--Bennett, Jacob Sprinkle and Axy Mc- 
Lean, Moses Stegall (whose first wife was brutally murdered by Big 
and Little Harpe, and he himself afterwards killed) and Sally Vane. 
In 1804 he married Dr. Adam Rankin and Haney Gamble. 


In primitive days men and women — if they could be called men 
and women — inter-married at an earlier period in life than they do 

Oftentimes girls at fourteen and sixteen years of age were given 
in marriage to youngsters from nineteen to twenty-one, and in some 
instances to men of mature age. Instances were known, and are 
known to this day, of girls becoming mothers before arriving at the 
age of sweet sixteen. 

It is also a fact that marriages, considering the population, were 
far more frequent than nowadays. Computing the number of mar- 
riages in 1797 and 1800, and up even to 1810, with a corresponding 
regard to numbers, the list of marriages annually at this modern day, 
to correspond with the list in those years, would reach fully fifteen 
hundred, if not more, per annum. 


The finest lands in the county were insignificantly cheap, so that 
any man of ordinary industry could secure himself a home. For in- 
stance, in 1798 John Williams, Robert Burton and Archibald Hender- 
son, surviving executor of Richard Henderson, sold to General Sam- 
uel Hopkins and Mark Alexander, all of the land on the Ohio near the 
mouth of Green River, and one hundred acres adjoining the town of 
Henderson, amounting in the aggregate, to five thousand six hundred 
and fourteen acres, for the price of seventy-five cents per acre, and 
that on credit. 

One year later. General Hopkins sold to Henry Purviance, four 
lots of one acre each, in the town of Henderson, and lots Nos. 4 and 
5, containing ten acres each, for the round sum of one hundred and 
ninety dollars. 


In 1799, settlers began to import slaves to the county. At the 
October Court of Quarter Sessions General Samuel Hopkins re- 
ported a bill of sale for record, which conveyed the title from John 
Hopkins, of Mercer County, to General Hopkins, of this county, in 
and to seven negro slaves, two men, one woman, one boy and four 


small children, two sorrel horses and one black mare, for and in con- 
sideration of two hundred and forty three pounds, eleven shillings 
and eight pence. 


The courts of Henderson County, as established and authorized 
by the Act of December 21, 1798, consisted of a County Court and 
Court of Quarter Sessions. The Court of Quarter Sessions was 
directed to sit annually on the first Tuesday in the months of March, 
May, July and October. The County Court the same day in every 
other month in which the Courts of Quarter Sessions were not directed 
to be held. 

The Court of Quarter Sessions was composed of three Justices 
appointed out of the Justices of the Peace for the county. This 
court was authorized to sit six judicial days, unless the business be- 
fore them could be sooner determined. Each Justice was a conserva- 
tor of the peace, and the Court was clothed with authority and power 
to hear and determine all cases whatsoever, at the common law, or 
in chancery, within their respective counties, except such criminal 
causes where the judgment upon conviction should be for the loss of 
life or murder, in which causes they had no jurisdiction, except as an 
examining court. 

In all causes of less than five pounds, current money, or one 
thousand pounds tobacco, this court had no jurisdiction. It did have 
jurisdiction of all matters respecting escheats and forfeiture, arising 
within the county, to award writs of ne exeat injunctions, and habeas 
corpus^ and power to empannel grand juries. The County Court 
was composed of a sufficient number of Justices of the Peace, 
and was given by law, jurisdiction of all causes respecting wills, let- 
ters of administration, mills, roads, appointment of guardians, and 
the settling of their accounts; admitting of deeds and other writings 
to record, to superintend public inspections, grant ordinary license, to 
regulate and restrain ordinances and tippling houses, appoint proces- 
cessioners, to hear and determine by law the complaints of appren- 
tices and hired servants against their masters and mistresses, or of 
the master or mistresses against their apprentices, or servants ; to 
establish ferries, to provide for the poor of the county, to erect nec- 
essary public buildings and purchase land therefor, and to appoint 
inspectors, collectors, surveyors of roads, constables and county jail- 
ers ; and cause a ducking stool to he built in such place as jnight be conve- 
nient for the punishment of minor offenses. 


The Justices of the County Court were conservators of the peace, 
and were given cognizance of all causes of less value than five pounds, 
current money, or one thousand" pounds tobacco. 

An act of 1801, reduced the annual terms of the Court of Quar- 
ter Sessions from four to three courts, to be held on the second Mon- 
day in the months of May, August and November. 

By the terms of the following act, approved December 20, 1802 
Circuit Courts were established throughout the State. 

'* Whereas, The present judiciary system is found to be inconvenient and 

*' Be it enacted, etc.. That the present district courts shall be, and are, abol- 
ished as soon as this act shall take effect. The Circuit Courts shall be and 
they are herebj^ established that each Circuit Court shall hold three times in 
every year. 

" They shall have jurisdiction in all causes, matters and things at laws, and 
in chancery, within their respective districts, except in cases of less value than 
five pounds current money, or one thousands pounds of tobacco. 

"They shall have the same power, authority and jurisdiction given to the 
District and Quarter Session Courts, and be governed by the same rules," 

The Circuit Court, as established by this act, was composed of 
one Judge for the circuit and two assistant Judges, resident in the 

This act abolished the Court of Quarter Sessions and directed 
the clerk of such courts to deliver all records and papers over to the 
Clerk of the Circuit Court upon demand. By the term of this act the 
Judge to be appointed and the two assistant Judges, were made con- 
servators of the peace. 

An amendatory act, passed and approved December 13, 1804, 
with jurisdiction over all causes which may have originated within the 
bounds of the circuit, was given this court. 

An act approved February 13, 1816, represented the act creating 
the office of assistant Judge alone, all the power and authority for the 
trial of criminal and civil cases, and authority to hold one or more ad- 
ditional terms for the trial of chancery causes, or for the trial of any 
person apprehended on a charge of felony. 

From the organization of the county, in the year 1799 to April, 
1805, the Court of Quarter Sessions held its regular terms, being pre- 
sided over during that time by General Samuel Hopkins, Abraham 
Landers, Hugh Knox and Dr. Adam Rankin, neither of whom was a 
lawyer. ^ 

April 1, 1805, the first Circuit Court for the county commenced 
its sitting and was presided over by Henry B. Broadnax, of Lebanon, 


Judge, and Hugh Knox and Dr. Adam Rankin, assistant Judges. By 
the terms of the act of December, 1802, establishing Circuit Courts, 
the Counties of Muhlenburg and Henderson formed one circuit and 
the courts for the same were directed to be held in the Court House 
in the County of Muhlenburg. 

At the February term, 1808, of the General Assembly, to-wit : on 
the twenty-third day " an act further to amend the act entitled an 
act establishing Circuit Courts " was approved. 

This act divided the State i^ito ten districts, and Henderson then 
became a part of the sixth district, composed of Breckenridge, Ohio 
Muhlenburg, Henderson and Hopkins Counties. The terms of the 
courts commenced in Henderson, on the first Mondays in April, July 
and October, and continued one week. In Hopkins, on the fourth 
Mondays in March, June and September, and continued one week. 

The Judges appointed under this act were required to make their 
allotments by districts, and it was made the duty of each Judge to at- 
tend the courts of the district to which he was attached. The Hon- 
orable Henry B. Broadnax, was allotted to this, the Sixth District. 





ON Tuesday, the second day of July, 1799, the first Court of Crim- 
inal Common law and chancery jurisdiction, held its sitting in 
the village of Henderson, the presiding Justices being General Sam- 
uel Hopkins, Abraham Landers and Hugh Knox, Esqs. Thus, for 
the first time. Law with its imposing ceremony asserted its power and 
authority in this then the extreme western county along the Ohio 
River. William B. Blackburn and Robert Coleman, Esqs., bearino- 
with them commissions as attorneys-at-law in the Courts of the Com- 
monwealth, took the oaths of office and were admitted to practice in 
the Henderson court. The court then proceeded to appoint a Com- 
monwealths Attorney for this county. The vote was taken by ballot 
and William B. Blackburn receiving a majority vote, was declared 
elected. A grand jury was then empanneled, consisting of the follow- 
ing names : Andrew Burke, (foreman), Edmond Hopkins, William 
Lawrence, William Gates, Thomas Housely, David Johnston, John 
Lawrence, Thomas Smith, John Slover, John McCombs, Isham Sel- 
lers, Ezra Owens, Jacob Upp, Warner Buck, William Wells, Sher- 
wood Hicks and Rowlin Hues. These gentlemen being sworn, a 
grand jury of inquest, for the body of the county, received their charge 
and retired to consider of their presentments. Where they retired to 
is not known — more likely than otherwise underneath the shade of 
some dense foliage tree, for there were no buildings at that time, the 
court room itself, being a miserable log hut, with only two openings. 


a small door, and a very large dirt chimney. However, the jury hav- 
ing spent sometime in deliberating, returned into court the following 
report of their labors, 

*' First. — The grand jury of the body of Henderson County upon their 
oaths, present Isaac Dunn, a minor, hving in this county, for profane swearing 
the thirtieth day of June, on liis return from sermon, Jacob Upp, Hving in this 
Town and Warner Buck, Hving in this Town, both of the grand jury in 

Five indictments were returned against men and women for liv- 
ing in adultery, but this must not be taken as an evidence of the 
wickedness of the times, but attributed rather to ignorance, and a 
want of legal arrangements, authorizing marriage. These people 
were living in the wild woods and were perhaps as poor as settlers 
were ever known. A distance of one hundred miles, attended by 
great difficulties and dangers, had to be traveled in order to procure a 
legal warrant or license. Horses were few, and many other almost 
unsurmountable barriers interposed to force them to violate the law, * 
therefore there is some apology at least to be made for the course of 
these ignorant poor people. Jacob Robertson was presented for being 
a vagrant, and then the first grand jury adjourned. 


Every indictment was found upon the evidence of the grand 
jurors, no other witnesses appearing before the jury. The following 
order was then passed. 

' Ordered, that the block house near John Husbands be considered the jail 
for the county, and that the Sheriff caube a door and lock to be fixed to the 
hou'^e and charge the same to the county. Whereupon the Sheriff, Andrew 
Rowan, accepted to the sufficiency of the said jail." 

The block house mentioned in this ordev was located on the river 
front near the site of the railroad bridge. It was uninhabited at the 
time, was a small concern built of rough logs, and not near so comfor- 
table or strong as an ordinary nowaday stock stable. 


Big Harpe, one of the brutal murderers of Mrs. Moses Stegall, 
her little son and William Love, having been pursued and killed, and 
the three wives of Big and Little Harpe captured, the three women 
were brought to Henderson and placed in the county jail. On the 
fourth day of September, 1799 following, a Court of Quarter Sessions 
was called and held for the axamination of Susanah and Sally Harpe, 
and Betty Roberts, wives of Big and Little Harpe, and commuted for 
being parties to the murder of Mrs, Stegall and others, and the burn^ 


ing of the house on the night of the twentieth of August, General Sam 
uel Hopkins and Abraham Landers, presiding. The prisoners were 
set to the bar by the Sheriff, aRfl being charged with the following, 
denied the fact ; witnesses were sworn, and upon the evidence being 
heard, it was adjudged by the court that the women were guilty and 
that they ought to be tried before the Judges of the District Court at 
Russelville. They were remanded to jail and, guards placed over 
them. John Rieper, Neil Lindsay, Isham Sellers and Mathew Chris- 
tian were recognized to appear before the district court at its next 
session. Andrew Rowan, High Sheriff, and Amos Kuykendall, 
John Standley, Green Massey and Gibson Hardin, guards, were or- 
dered to proceed with the Harpe women to Russellville, which they 
did. The wives of Big and Little Harpe were the first prisoners in- 
carcerated in the first prison house of the county. 


At the October court a grand jury was empanneled, and after de- 
liberating, returned two indictments, one against Amos Kuykendall 
and Matthew Christian, quite noted characters at that time; and pos- 
itively notorious afterwards. These two men were indicted for " pro- 
fane swearing, and for stripping and ill-treating the company at David 
Johnston's house-raising," The second indictment was against Amos 
Kuykendall and William Hunford, for riding through the roads of the 
town naked. These men were terrible fellows when under the influ- 
ence of liquor, and no more daring or unsightly scene had ever 
been witnessed. They were mounted upon spirited horses, unsaddled 
and at railroad speed dashed up, and down, out and in each of the pub- 
lic roads of the town. Their imitation of Indian habits, was more 
than the good people could bear, and as a preventive of future parades, 
the strong arm of the law was called in to punish this, their first ex- 

At the March term, 1800, Ambrose Barbour was appointed tempor- 
ary clerk of the court, and executed bonds in the sum of one thou- 
sand pounds. 


Early in this year Rev. James McGready, a very distinguished 
divine, in what was called the Green River country, held his great re- 
vival of religion. The outlaws had been driven out of the^'county, 
honest men ventured to speak, primitive society settled down to the 
realities of busy life and religious excitement ran high. 


Everybody became enthusiastic, for it was not to be denied that 
the untiring labors of Mr. McGrjsady, and those who assisted him, 
had been the means of restoring the country to law and order, and 
regulating rude ways to a proper observance of moral and true busi- 
ness principles. That looseness, which had hitherto governed men 
and women in their character and actions, had given way to the more 
refined and virtuous teachings of the preachers, and although men 
profained themselves, they did not justify profanity in others. A 
grand juror, who half an hour before had secretly taken the name of 
the Lord in vain, was willing to sign his name to an indictment against 
his less fortunate neighbor who had done the same thing, but in 

There seemed to be a religious determination to put a stop to pro- 
fane swearing, and no matter who sinned, if detected, he was sure to be 
made a victim of the law. At this court, General Samuel Hopkins, 
Eneas McCallister and Andrew Rowan, the first Chief Justice of 
the court, under whose authority the grand jury was empanneled, the 
second Chief Magistrate of the County Court and the third High 
Sheriff of the county, were each indicted for profane swearing, and 
like old patriots, confessed the fact and paid their fines without a mur- 

The annual report of taxes received by John David Haussman, 
former Clerk of the Court of Quarter Sessions and County Court, pur- 
suant to an act of the Assembly, approved the twenty-eighth of Febru- 
ary, 1797, entitled, " An act to amend and reduce into one, the several 
acts establishing a permanent revenue," was presented, and will give 
an idea of the littleness of court business in early times : 

" To tax on 5 original writs 25c. each, ^l 25 

" " •' 4 deeds of land 25c. " 1 00 ■ 

" " " 2countyseals 25c. " 50 

$2 75 
Commissions, 5 per cent 13.7»^ 

$2 61.2>/2 

John Husbands was directed to let the building of a stray-pen on 
the Public Square, for the benefit of the county, to be two poles square 
of posts and rails, with a sufficient gate, fastened with a good pad- 
lock. This pen ornamented the square up to the year 1822, when 
Joel Lambert, (who, by the by, married Miss Polly Husbands, the 
accomplished daughter of John Husbands), was awarded the contract 
for removing it, and rebuilding a new one at a cost of seventy-four 
dollars and seventy-five cents. 



From 1800 to 1813 numerous applications were made to the 
County Court for the right to dam the several creeks of the county, 
and erect mills on the sites selected. Between the bridge on the 
Owensboro Road and the mouth of Big Canoe Creek, opposite the- 
Lower Island, there were built five mills, all to be operated by water- 
power, furnished by dams built across the stream. There were several 
on Sheffer^s Creek, one or more on Strong Water, and half-dozen 
or more on Highland Creek. There were certain seasons for run- 
ning these mills — mainly in the fall and spring months. In dry 
weather thev were useless. Of all these mills, not over three or four 
of them made much pretentions to grinding. Notably among the num- 
ber, were the Brookin Taylor Mill, at the crossing on the Madisonvllle 
Road, and the James Lyne Mill, at the crossing on the Morganfield 

In order to assist the County Court in the erection of public 
buildings, General Samuel Hopkins, agent of Richard Henderson 
& Co., directed George HoUoway to survey and set apart to the 
county, for public purposes, two acres, to be taken off of the public 
square. This survey was made, and includes the place where the 
Court House now stands. 

At the July term of Court,1810, the High Sheriff, Andrew Rowan, 
indulged too freely of a mild, spiritual intoxicant, called " bounce," 
and spoke a profane line or two, contrary to the peace and dignity of 
the Commonwealth, for which he was " bounced " upon by the grand 
jury and made to pay a good round sum. The indictment accused 
him of being drtinl:, and nevertheless it was about time to celebrate 
the Fourth of July, which fact failed to serve as a vindication or ex- 

The County Court appointed Abner Kuykendall, William Gates 
and Humphrey Barnett, commissioners, to view a road from the Town 
of Henderson to the main fork of Highland Creek. This road crossed 
Canoe Creek about one hundred yards above the old ford on the trace 
to Diamond Island. 

Unruly boys were not tolerated in those days. Isaac Dunn, 
son of Captain John Dunn, of whom mention has heretofore been 
made, become a pest to his mother, who was then a widow, and like- 
wise an eyesore to the comriiunity. He had been apprenticed, but did 
nothing more than annoy his master. The court took official notice 
of his behavior, and John Husbands one of the Magistrates, wrote a 
note to Mrs. Dunn, informing her that the court would not tolerate 


him longer, but would proceed to enforce obedience. What the court 
did is not known. Loafing men and boys received but little encour- 
agement or countenance from the court. They were apprenticed or 
proceeded against as vagrants. 

The second felony case brought to the attention of the Court of 
Quarter Sessions was that of George Adams, for stabbing John Hus- 
bands, Jr., a son of the Magistrate, and brother of Mrs. Joel Lambert. 

Ambrose Barbour, who had been appointed temporary Clerk of 
the Court of Quarter Sessions and County Court, produced in open 
court a certificate, signed by two Judges of the Court of Appeals, cer- 
tifying to his qualifications to do the duties required in the office, and 
was thereupon appointed Clerk of both Courts, to hold his office 
during good behavior. 


Under the old constitution elections were not conducted as they 
now are. A copy of the law, approved December 21, 1799, will suf- 
fice to explain : 

Be it enacted, etc.. That the Sheriff of each county within this Com- 
monwealth, shall, at least one month previous to the first Monday in May, 1800, 
and at least one month previous to the first Monday in August, in the year 1801, 
and also previous to the first Monday in August, in every year forever there- 
after, notify the inhabitants of his county, by advertisement setup at the door 
of the Court House thereof, of the time and place of holding the election then 
next ensuing, and what offices are to be fillejd by such election , The Sheriff", 
or other presiding officers, shall, on the day of every election, open the poll by 
ten o'clock in the inorning, and continue the same open until at least one hour 
before sunset each day, Tor three days successively, if necessary, or if any one 
of the candidates for any of the offices to be filled by such election, shall re- 
quest it, the Justices of the County Court shall, at their court next preceding 
the first Monday in May, and at their court next preceding the first Monday in 
August, J 801, and also at their court next preceding the first Monday in 
August in every year forever thereafter, appoint two of their own number as 
judges of the election next ensuing, and also a proper person to act as clerk, 
who shall continue in office one year. In case the County Court shall fail to 
make said appointments, or the persons, or any of them fail to attend, the 
Sheriff shall immediately preceding any election appoint proper persons to act 
in their stead. Any person, who shall vote tnore than once at any election, 
shall, upon conviction, forfeit and pay for every such vote, ten dollars, to be re- 
coverable with costs, before any justice of the Peace, one-half to the use of 
the county, and the other half to the person suing for the same." 

Under this act, a voter was allowed to cast his vote in any pre- 
cinct of the county, but not to vote more than once, under penalty. 
The Sheriff, or one of his deputies, was required to be in Frankfort 
on the seventeenth day succeeding the day of the commencement of 



any general election, to assist the Sheriffs of other counties in com- 
paring the polls taken at the election for Governor and Lieutenant 
Governor. ^ 

It was further enacted^ " That this State shall be diveded into two districts — 
that is to say, all the counties lying on the south side of the Kentucky River 
shall compose one district, and all the counties on the north side of the said 
river shall compose another district. The persons qualfied to vote by law for 
members to Congress, to the House of Representatives, shall assemble at their 
respective Court Houses on the first Monday in August, in the year 1801, and 
on the same day every two years thereafter, and then and there vote for some 
proper and discreet person, being an inhabitant of this State, who shall have 
attained the age of twenty -five years, and have been seven years a citizen of the 
United States, as a member of the House of Representatives of the United 
States for the term of two years. Immediately after the poll is closed, the 
Sheriff, Judges and Clerk shall proceed to examine the vote, and after truly 
ascertaining the same, shall proceed to make return, which shall be delivered 
to the Sheriff holding such election, which return shall be taken by the Sherifis 
in the Southern Districts to the Court House of the County of Mercer, and 
there compare and certify the election. For this service the Sherifts shall re- 
ceive for their trouble and expense, the sum of one dollar per day ferriage, 
and three cents per mile for traveling to and returning from the county in 
which they are required to meet. 

And he it further enacted. That for the purpose of choosing four electors 
in behalf of this State, to vote for a President and Vice President, the several 
counties in this Commonwealth shall be allotted into four districts in the fol- 
lowing manner, to- wit: The counties of Lincoln, Mercer, Garrard, Madison, 
Pulaski, Logan, Warren* Barren, Christian, Livingston, Henderson, Muhl- 
lenburg and Ohio shall compose the Second District. JThat the persons quali- 
fied by law to vote for members to the General Assembly in each county com- 
posing a district, shall assemble in their Court Houses on the second Tuesday 
in November, in the year 1800, and on the same day in every fourth year suc- 
ceeding, and vote for some discreet and proper person, being an actual resident 
in such district, lor one year preceding, as an elector for such district, to vote 
for President of the United States." 

Under an act for apportioning the representation among the sev- 
eral counties, and for laying off the State into Senatorial Districts, 
approved December 19, 1799, the counties of Livingston and Hen- 
derson were made one representative district, and entitled to one 
member. The countiesof Livingston, Henderson, Muhlenburg and 
Ohio, made one senatorial district, and entitled to one member. John 
Caldwell, of Muhlenburg, was elected first Senator, and General Sam- 
uel Hopkins, of Henderson, first Representative. Henderson and 
Livingston Counties continued as one district until, by an act approved 
December 27, 1803, Henderson was made one district, and given the 
right to elect one Representative. 




From the first election held in 1800, to the last election held in 
1804, there was but one voting place established in the county — thit 
one at the Court House, in the Town of Henderson. On the sixth 
day of December, 1804, the following act was approved : 

And he it further enacted, That the County of Henderson shall be divided 
into two election precincts, by a line beginning at the month of Deer Creek, on 
Green River, thence up the said creek to the mouth of Black's and Newman's 
sugar camp branch, thence up the same to the head thereof, thence such a 
course as -will strike the Crab Orchard lork of Tradewater at the nearest port, 
thence down said fork to a large lick, about two miles above the mouth of 
Caney Fork, thence a southwest line to Tradewater." 

Two years thereafter, to-wit : on the sixth day of December, 1806, 
an act creating the County of Hopkins, was approved and included 
in its bounds the greater part of the second election precinct. Prior 
to that time, however, it will be observed with what difficulties settlers 
had to contend, in order to exercise the right to elective franchise. 
For that reason the elections were held three days. Under the old 
constitution magistrates and sheriffs were appointed by the Governor. 
Jailors, coroners, constables, collectors, inspectors, processioners, sur- 
veyors and other minor officers were appointed by the County Court. 





y^HIS decade opened with all of the machinery of government 
^^ running more smoothly and a greater disposition on the part of 
the people to improve the country, as they had their morals. The 
laws by which they were to be governed had become pretty generally 
understood, and a determination to obey and enforce obedience, if 
necessary, was a settled conviction of a large majority of the settlers. 
Larger crops ware grown, and the system of cultivating, tobacco 
particularly, had been adopted. 

No body of land offered superior quality of soil for the produc- 
tion of cerials and tobacco. In fact the low lands, as well as a greater 
part of the hill lands, were found to be superb in producing capacity. 


Tobacco, as far back as 1792, was the equal of money in every 
respect. All officers' fees at that time, fixed by law, were chargeable 
and receivable in tobacco. By an act of the Assembly, approved 
June 28 of that year, this law was repealed and all fees made charge- 
able and receivable in the currency of the State. This act went fur- 
ther, to wit : '•' And for every pound of tobacco allowed by any ex- 
isting laws, to any officer, witness, or other person as a compensation 
for any service, they shall in lieu thereof be entitled to receive one 
penny current money of Kentucky. That for all forfeitures and fines, 
in tobacco, in force in this State, suits may be instituted and recov- 
ered in money at the same rate." 


An act approved December 21, 1792, revived the English law of 
1745, so far as the same related to sheriffs, and gave them their fees 
payable in tobacco at one penny, half penny per pound. December 
22, 1792, the old act was revived as to coroners, they to be paid their 
fees in specie, or transfer tobacco, at the rate of one penny, half 
penny per pound, at the option of the party charged therewith. Even 
up to 1813 and 1815 the penalty attaching to constables' bonds was 
made payable in tobacco. 


Inspection warehouses having been established in many of the 
counties of the State, on the tenth day of February a general law 
was passed, regulating the handling of tobacco. 

Henderson being the largest tobacco growing county in the State 
at that time, those interested in the growth of the weed will doubtless 
be gratified to know something of this law and how it affected their 
ancestors and predecessors in selling and shipping. 

Such parts of the law as are deemed material for this purpose 
are here incorporated : 

" It was enacted, etc.. That no person shall put on board or receive in any 
boat or vessel in order to be exported therein, any tobacco not packed in 
hogsheads or casks, to be in tliat or any other boat or vessel, exported out of 
this State, before the same shall have been inspected and reviewed, but that 
all tobacco whatsoever, to be received or taken on board of any boat for ex- 
portation, shall be received and taken on board at the several warehouses, or 
some one of them, and no other place whatsoever/' 

Masters of boats were prohibited from carrying unstamped to- 
bacco under a penalty of a fine of fifty pounds, while the servants 
had the following law to guide them : 

*' And if any servant, or other person, employed in navigating any such 
boat or other vessel, shall connive at, or conceal the taking or receiving on 
board, any tobacco in bulk or parcel, he shall pay the sum of five pounds, 
and if such servant or other person shall be unable to pay the said sum, he or 
they,' and every slave so employed, shall by order of a magistrate receive on 
his bareback, thirty -nine lashes, tvell laid on.^^ 

The owners of tobacco were authorized to break any hogshead for 
the purpose of repacking or prizing for the convenience of storage, 
provided the original package had been stamped, and that the -change 
was made at the warehouse where the same was inspected, weighed, 
marked and stamped. 

Owners of tobacco were allowed to carry the same in bulk or 
parcels on board of any boat to a licensed warehouse, or from one 


plantation to another for better handling or managing thereof, or thev 
were allowed to bring their tobacco by boat to a warehouse to be re- 
packed, sorted, stemmed or prized, provided it was packed in hogsheads 
or casks. The warehouse keeper was allowed as rent three shillings 
for each hogshead of tobacco received, inspected and delivered out 
of his house. In addition he was allowed on all tobacco remaining 
in the warehouse over twelve months three pence per month, to be 
paid by the owner. 

Inspectors were allowed four shillings and sixpence on each hogs- 
head. This was their full fee and no salary or other fee was allowed. 
All tobacco that was brought to a warehouse was required to be in- 
spected by two licensed inspectors, who were required to reject all to- 
bacco that was not sound, well conditioned merchantable and free from 
trash. In case any tobacco was refused by the inspectors, the owner 
was at liberty to separate the good from the bad, but in case he re- 
fused or failed for one month to do this, the inspectors were to employ 
one of the pickers attending the warehouse to pick and separate the 
same, for which they were paid one-fifth part of the tobacco saved, 
and the tobacco adjudged unfit to save was placed in a '* funnel " 
erected by law and burned. 

If any tobacco packed in any hogshead or cask by any overseer, 
or the hands under his care, was burned by the inspectors, by reason 
of its being bad, unsound or in bad condition, the overseer who had 
the care of making and packing the same, suffered the loss of the to- 
bacco so burned. All tobacco brought to the warehouse for exporta- 
tion by the owner was required to be examined and weighed, and if 
found good to be stamped and the owner given a receipt, stating 
whether the tobacco so received was sweet scented or Oronocko, stemmed 
or leaf, and whether tied up in bundles or not. For every hogshead 
exported by land or water the owner was required to pay seven shil- 
lings and six pence and find the nails for securing the same, or pay 
eight pence per hogshead for each hogshead so secured by the inspec- 

On the twenty-first day of December, 1825, the following act was 
approved : "That froni and after the passage of this act all purchas- 
ers of tobacco within this Commonwealth shall be at liberty to export 
the same without having the same inspected." 

Tobacco inspection warehouses were established by law in Hen- 
derson, and from 1801 up to the passage of the act, December 21, 
1825, all tobacco was handled by and passed through some legally 
authorized warehouse. In those days every planter packed his to- 



bacco into hogsheads and boxes, and such a thing as bringing a crop 
to market loose was unknown. Subsequent to December, 1825, stem- 
nieries were erected, and the business of inspecting and handling to- 
bacco gradually grew less, until the warehouses were finally exter- 
minated. They continued to do business, however, until 1835. After 
the establishment of stemmeries, planters ceased, to a very great ex- 
tent, to pack in hogsheads, but begun the system of delivery of loose 
tobacco by wagons. 


Henderson soon became the first strip market of the country, 
and those who engaged early in stemming made large fortunes. The 
Ohio and Mississippi Rivers furnished an outlet for all the produce 
of the country. Flat boats and barges being used before the intro- 
duction of steam machinery, many of the earlier citizens of Hender- 
son engaged in floating merchandise to New Orleans where they, after 
disposing of their produce, would either sell their boats orelse cordelle 
them back up the river. It was indeed a very common custom to 
float down the rivers and return overland on foot. 

General Samuel Hopkins having resigned his commission as Chief 
Justice of the Court of Quarter Sessions, Jacob Barnett was ap- 
pointed by the Governor in his stead, and at the March term, 1801, 
took his seat upon the bench. 

Mr. Barnett served but a short time when he died. Abraham 
Landers resigned and the two vacancies were filled by the appointment 
of Dr. Adam Rankin and John Holloway in 1802. That court at this 
time was composed of Hugh Knox, Dr. Rankin and John Holloway. 


This primitive court, as is the case with all such, was a sort of 
free and easy. The ordinary hanger-on considered himself the equal of 
the Judge, in point of legal intelligence, and reserved to himself the 
ri<^ht to perpetrate jokes, prop his feet upon the window sill, and 
even at times to elevate them along side of the Judge on his punch- 
eon bench, just as the humor moved him. 

Judge Knox, the Chief Justice, after the death of General Hop- 
kins, was a man of many good points, an old bachelor, and one given 
to bachanalian frolics, sometimes social looseness, for which he was 
frequently indicted by the grand jury. Whenever an indictment was 
found against him he plead guilty, and was fined without a murmur, 
and then with commendable promptness would pay his fine. He was 
never known to ask mercy or favor, but having settled his own little 


difficulties, would return to the bench and administer similar justice 
to others who had violated the written law. 

The two assistant Justices,"Dr. Rankin and John Holloway, were 
men quite unlike the Chief Justice ; they were thorough business 
men, of settled habits and fine intelligence. They believed in up- 
holding society and bringing it under the highest standard of morals, 
virtue and religious training. 

If one is to be justified in what he may read in the early records, 
it is safe to infer that society in the early days of the county was 
rather below par. 

It was a very common occurrence for men to sue for debt and 
fail ingloriously to make out a case, from the fact the debt had been 
previously paid, and the defendant fortunately for himself, held a re- 
ceipt. In this case the order of the court would conclude : " It is 
therefore ordered that the plaintiff take nothing by his bill, but that 
he be in mercy of the court for his false clamor, etc." 

A peculiar, and perhaps unheard of proceeding, was had in one 
of the early courts A grand jury was empanneled composed of the 
required number of veniremen, who returned to the court several in- 
dictments, found upon the evidence of members of the jury. The 
next day when the indictments were called for trial, there were not a 
sufficient number of legally qualified males in the house, or around 
the village from which to secure a petit jury, so a part of the jury 
was made up of the grand jury, who had found the indictments. It is 
perhaps the only case known where the same man served as grand 
juror in finding an indictment and petit juror in trying the same. 

At this term, to wit : May, 1801, Wm. B. Blackburn, who had 
made an efficient Commonwealth attorney for the county, resigned 
his office, and James Bell, Esq., was appointed to fill the vacancy. 


At the same time there was another rather strange procedure, at 
least it would be so regarded at this time. In the suit of William 
Dunn vs. John Lankford, after the jury had been sworn, and the evi- 
dence heard, and the case argued, it appeared as well to the court as 
the parties interested, tljat Thomas Houseley, one of the jurors, was 
very drunk, so much so as to be incapacitated to render any verdict. 
By consent of the parties and their attorneys and at the command oi the 
court, Houseley was withdrawn and Jonathan Anthony, a bystander, 
who had heard the evidence, and the arguments of the attorneys of 
both parties, was called and his name affixed to the panel. He was 


examined, elected, and then sworn to try the issue. After awhile it 
was discovered that another juryman was too far gone, as to know 
whether he was sitting in a jury box or in a variety theatre. By this 
time the court became disgusted and ordered the case to be contin- 
ued to the next court, not, however, without first placing the two jury- 
men under a two dollar obligation each, which they were ordered to 
make good else be locked in the dungeon. 


Mr. Hugh McGary, who figures in several parts of the early his- 
tory of this work, was indicted for selling liquor without license, and 
was the first person found guilty of such an offense in the county. 


In 1802, there being so few ministers, old Squire Silas McBee 
was authorized by the County Court to solemnize the rites of mar- 
riage, and from what can be learned from him, he was rather given to 
humor, and indulged the propensity frequently. 

Ministers were licensed to solemnize marital rites, according to 
the rules of the church to which they belonged, and required to re- 
turn the license to the clerk of the County Court with his indorse- 
ment thereon. Many of these old-time returns are amusing, as much 
perhaps for their illiterate entierty as their originality. The license 
sometimes directed the parties to be married according to the rules 
and rites of some certain church. Esquire McBee happened to be 
called in on one occasion and was given a license intended to be sol- 
emnized by a Cumberland Presbyterian. He, in his hurried way, 
joined the parties in marriage, and returned the license with the fol- 
lowing- indorsement : '* I jined them according to the rites and cere- 
monies of the Cumberland Church, to which church, I say now, I 
don't belong." The old Squire was honest to say the least of it. 


Amos Kuykendall, of bare-back notoriety ; Abner Kuykendall, 
and James Walton, concluded to take the village, and were arrested 
by the Sheriff. A short time afterwards, a mob (the first one ever- 
organized), composed of Robert McGary, William McGary, Hugh 
McGary, Jr., Andrew Bratton, Thomas Fletcher and Solomon Nesler 
appeared in the presence of the Sheriff and demanded the surrender 
of the prisoners. Being overpowered, he had but one alternative left 
him, and that he exercised. The prisoners were given up. For this, 
at the May term of the Court of Quarter Sessions, each member of 
the mob was indicted, for rescuing with force and arms, said prisoners 


from the custody of the Sheriff, in the Town of Henderson, on the first 
day of August. 


The County Court, during this year, turned its attention to the 
propriety of building bridges over several creeks at important fords, 
but nothing was done in the way of building until the year following, 
1803. In this year, Edmund Hopkins and Dr. Adam Rankin were 
appointed conrmissioners, with power to bridge Canoe Creek, at the 
crossings on the Owensboro Road, Madisonville Road, and Morganfield 
Road, as now. This they did, paying tor the bridges the sum of 
ninety dollars each. No spike nails were to be had at that time, so 
the poles were pinned down at each end with wooden pins. These 
were cheap structures, of course, and lasted but a short time ; however, 
were far better than nothing, and correspondingly appreciated by the 


On the tw^enty-first day of April, 1803, the little village was com- 
pletely upset by the arrest of Hugh McGary, charged feloniously steal- 
ing and carrying away nineteen English guineas, two half-eagles, thirty 
dollars in silver and six hundred dollars in bank notes, the property of 
Samuel Baker, a guest of McGary's Tavern and whisky shop. This was, 
perhaps, a greater bulk of metalic and paper values than McGary had 
ever seen before, and the temptation to grow rich, even at so great a 
risk, was more than he could withstand. The District Court met at 
that time at Russeliville, and what became of the prisoner the writer 
is unable to say. 


As an evidence of cheap travel and cheap service, the April court, 
1804, received and certified to the Auditor of Public Accounts, the ac- 
count of John Bilbo, acting Sheriff, for the sum of seventeen dollars, 
for traveling three hundred and sixty miles on horseback, and attend- 
ing to compare the polls of the election of a Senator of the State As- 
sembly, and for a Representative in Congress. 

At this court the first indictments were returned against over- 
seers of roads, but subsequent to this. time it was a common custom to 
present at each court a majority, if not everyone of those unfortunate 
office holders. 


At the May County Court this year, John Gray and Willis Mor- 
gan executed bond to the County Court, in the penalty of one thou- 
sand pounds, for an order granted them for the establishing of a town 


on their lands purchased of Thomas B Evans. Where this town was 
to be located, the writer has been unable to learn from any source, only 
that it was to be on the Ohio River and in Henderson County. 


February 10 and December 22, 1798, the Legislature created a 
.lumber of academies, and for the purpose of encouraging education, 
authorized and empowered the Board of Trustees, or their agents, to 
cause to be surveyed, on any vacant or unappropriated land to be 
found on the south side of Green River, six thousand acres each. Un- 
der the authority thus given. Bethel Academy, July 20, 1800, by 
Daniel Ashby, agent, located twenty-nine hundred and fifty acres, 
on Clear Creek Fork, and three thousand and fifty acres on Caney 
Fork of Tradewater. 

Livingston County, on December 20, 1802, by Justinian Cart- 
wright, agent, located five thousand two hundred and fifty acres on 
Tradewater River. 

Pendleton County, on December 22, 1802, by Justinian Cart- 
wright, located one hundred and ten acres between Pond River and 

. Livingston Academy, April 10 and July 15; 1802, by Cartwright, 
agent, located three hundred and fifty and two hundred and fifty acres 
the North and Clear Creek Forks of Tradewater. 

Harrodsburgh Seminary, on July 2, 1804, by Peter Casey, agent, 
located three thousand acres on the North Fork of Tradewater River. 
This made a total of fifteen thousand seven hundred and sixty acres 
of Henderson County lands, given by the State, to counties and acad- 
emies in other parts of the State. 

In October, 1804, the last Court of Quarter Sessions was held, 
the same having been abolished, and a Circuit Court substituted in its 




/(pwHE year 1800 was ushered in with a greatly increased population 
and still brighter hopes of the future. A number of families, com- 
posing the best people of the States, had found their way to the new 
land, and were actively engaged with the earlier settlers in opening 
up the wild woods, clearing the barrens and preparing the lands for 
an intelligent cultivation. 


Ferries were established at Henderson and several points in the 
the county along the Ohio and Green Rivers. Roads were opened 
and bridges built, and while the revenue was yet very small and the 
delinquent list correspondingly large, still every dollar of the peoples' 
money was judiciously expended with a view to the ultimate good of 
the county. General Samuel Hopkins estabUshed the first public 
ferry at the mouth of Green River, from the Kentucky to the Indiana 
shore. The first ferry at Henderson was established by Jonathan An- 
thony in 1802. 


The first vessel of any magnitude, or even respectability, which 
passed Henderson en route to the Mississippi, was a ship built at 
Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, in May, 1800. She started on her first 
journey with seven hundred and twenty barrels of flour. At Louis- 


ville she was detained on account of low water, till the following Jan- 
uary, but during that month, while the river was clear of ice, she came 
sailing on down, passing Henderson two days after leaving Louisville. 
At Fort Massac, Illinois, she added to her cargo, for the New Orleans 
market, two thousand bear skins and four thousand deer skins. In the 
spring of 1805, a beautiful little sailing vessel, of seventy tons burthen, 
fitly called the " Nonpariel," passed down for New Orleans. 

In this year two warehouses were established for the inspection 
of beef, pork, flour, hemp and tobacco. Philip Barbour and Meri- 
dith Fisher were appointed inspectors. 

On the first day of April, 1805, the first Circuit Court held its sit- 
ting, with Judge Henry P. Broadnax upon the bench, assisted by 
Dr. Adam Rankin and Hugh Knox. William Featherston, Samuel 
Work, Christopher Tompkins, James Bell and John Daviess were au- 
thorized and admitted to practice as attorneys in this court. William 
Featherston was appointed Commonwealth's Attorney for the county. 
At the July term of this court, John Grey, Alney McLean, Charles 
Henderson, Henry Delano and John Campbell, were admitted as at- 


The Sheriffs of the county, prior to 1805, and for sometime after- 
wards, were extremely loose in their mode of doing business, and in 
more than one instance came to grief from their own negligence and 
that of their deputies. Under the old constitution, the oldest serving 
Magistrate was entitled, by rot.ition, to the office of sheriff, and was 
invariably appointed as such by the Governor, and yet there is not 
more than one, perhaps two instances, wherein the legally appointed 
sheriff performed the duties of the office. It was the custom of the 
Magistrate receiving the appointment, even up to the adoption of the 
new constitution, to farm out the office — that is to say, sell the 
office to some one or two parties, and take from them bond to secure 
him from loss. 

There was no objection urged to this system until 1835, at which 
time Judge Thomas Towles was entitled to the office, but waived his 
right, and consented to remain on the bench. The county then, as 
now, had its meddlers and office-seekers, and of course there were 
men to insinuate and complain. Judge Towles at that time failed to 
be apprised of what was said, but hearing of it afterwards, determined 
to exhonorate himself from any degree of discredit. At the next 
meeting of the County Court, he called the attention of the Court to 
certain objections to his longer serving, and at the same time tendered 


his resignation as magistrate. There was a determination not to ac- 
cept it, but the Judge was positiv^e upon that point, and the court very 
reluctantly consented to his resignation, not, however, without passing 
the following order.' 

" Some years ago the County Court, having failed at the proper court to 
recommend a sheriff to the Governor, the said Thomas Towles, being the oldest 
and senior justice of the said county, waived his right to the sheriff ally , and by 
general consent John Green was appointed sheriff for the term to which said 
Towles would have been entitled, and the said Towles, by reqiiest, continued 
in office as a justice, and did not resign until this day, when some objections 
being made to the practice of justices selling the sheriffalty and holding on to 
the office of magistrate, he, the said Towles (although urged not to do so), 
thereupon resigned. The Justices present reposing entire confidence in the 
integrity, judgment, legal knowledge, skill and ability of the said Thomas 
Towles, Sr., and believing his assistance as a member of the County Court 
to be important to the interest of the county, have therefore recommended 
him to the Governor to fill the vacancy occasioned by his resignation." 

In a month afterwards Judge^Towles was reappointed and reas- 
sumed his labors as before, and this forever hushed any complaints. 

On the twenty-third day of February, 1805, the Harrodsburgh 
Seminary, by Peter Casey, agent, made another grab of Henderson 
County land, locating at this time on Highland Creek three thousand 


Early in the fall of 1806 the first bridges built commenced giv- 
ing way, and how to repair them or rebuild them was a question the 
County Court found considerable difficulty in determining, from the fact 
of the smallness of the levy and the greatness of the delinquent list. 
Finally, after considering the matter thoroughly, it was determined to 
rebuild the bridge leading toTradewater River over Canoe Creek, on 
the now Madisonville Road, and one over the Town Fork of Canoe lead- 
ing to Owensboro, by subscription, if possible, if not, to raise by that 
means as great an amount as possible and to pledge the county for 
the remainder. A contract was entered into with William Anthony 
to build a new bridge over the crossing leading to Tradewater at a 
cost of two hundred and twenty-two dollars, one hundred and thirty- 
two dollars more than the first bridge cost, and with John Stanley and 
William Kavanaugh to bridge the crossing leading to Owensboro at a 
cost of ninety dollars, the same cost as the first bridge. As has been 
said in a previous chapter, the original bridges were cheap structures, 
mostly built of poles. To give an idea of the second structures the 
specifications of the Town Fork bridge are here inserted : " The 


bridge is to be twelve feet wide in the clear, with two arches, the first 
across the stream 27 feet, the second to where -it lands on the west 
side to be 23 feet, the two t*'ussels to be 3 feet high from the top of the 
mud sill, the mud sills to be hewn 20 inches by 16, the cap sills 18 by 
14, the trussel posts 15 by 12, braces 14 by 6, sleepers 16 by 6, to be 
laid in sixteen inches of each other, the plank to be sawed a foot or 
more inches and 3 inches thick." 


From this the reader would judge that such a thing as a sawmill 
had been established in the county, but that is a mistake ; there were 
no sawmills. Planks were ripped from hewn logs by a system denom- 
inated " whip sawing," an upright saw, working perpendicularly, with 
one man above the other, to do the work now done by engines and 
steam. This was a tedious process, yet the weather-boarding and 
framing timbers for all of the houses built in Henderson prior to 1818, 
was sawed in this way. There are at the present time, three houses 
standing in the city with the same weather-boarding which was nailed 
on at the time of their building, between 1810 and 1818. These 
buildings will be noticed in their proper order. 

The April, 1806, Circuit Court came on, and with it that pests of 
all pests, the grand jury. Judge Knox, one of the Associate Justices, 
was once again made a victim on account of his passionate indiscre- 
tions, and with his usual adamantine face and limitless cheek, con- 
fessed the corn and paid his fine. 

Henderson County was now eight years old by legislative recog- 
nition, and yet the morals of the people had not been reduced to that 
beautiful simplicity and religious standard the punctilious so devoutly 
wished. Some men would profanely take the name of the Lord in 
vain and yet punishment was as certain as taxes. The grand jury 
was no respector of persons, on the contrary they rather took a de- 
light in making examples of the leading men whenever the opportu- 
nity presented itself. Henry P. Broadnax, Judge of the Circuit Court, 
William Featherston, Commonwealth's Attorney, Joel Lambert and 
Thomas G. Walker were each indicted at this term for profane swear- 
ing and fined the round sum of five shillings each, which they paid 
without a wordf It is just to say, however, that the morals of the 
young county were far better, considering the character of the popu- 
lation as a whole, than well could be expected of a similar settlement 
composed of men of these days. There were but few indictments 
brought in by the grand jury, and they were mostly confined to minor 
offenses. ■ 



In the month of April the trustees of the Hartford Academy 
located on the north fork of Tradewater two hundred and forty- 
four acres of land. On the twentieth of Semptember Bethel Semin- 
ary, by David Ashley, a^ent, entered one thousand acres on some 
small branches emptying into the Ohio River. 

On the eleventh day of February Henderson and Hopkins 
Counties were declared by law one Senatorial district, and at the fol- 
lowing election Daniel Ashby,of Hopkins, was elected. 


Nothing particularly interesting occurred during 1807, except the 
ever •memorable "'Cold Friday," which was the subject of talk for 
years among those who felt its piercing chills. 

Mr. Collins says : " On Thursday, February, 1807, the mercury 
was caused to fall sixty degrees within twelve hours by the cold winds. 
At nightfall it was mild and cloudy. After night it commenced rain- 
ing with a high west wind. This rain soon changed to a snow, which 
continued to fall rapidly to the depth of six inches, but the wind, which 
moved at the rate of a hurricane, soon lifted and dispersed the clouds, 
and within the short space of twelve hours from the close of a very 
mild Thursday, all Ke^ntucky was treated to a gentle rain, a violent 
snow storm, and a bright sunshine morning, so bitterly cold that by 
acclamation it was termed ''Cold Friday," On the morning of this 
day the trees in the forests were cracking like the report of guns, and 
everything was bound in the fetters of ice." 

The County of Hopkins was formed during the early part of this 
year, although the act of the Legislature sub-dividing Henderson 
County was approved December 9, 1806. 

The first case under an act to permit debtors to confess judg- 
ment in a summary way, was heard at the July term of the Circuit 

Assistant Judge Hugh Knox, who also held the distinguished 
office of surveyor of one of the roads, was indicted and fined during 
this court for non-performance of duty. 


Mr. Collins, in a short biographical sketch of the life of the re- 
nowned ornithologist, John J. Audubon, places his arrival in Hender- 
son during 1807, but Mrs. Audubon, in her book of his life, places it 
during the year 1812. From the most reliable testimony attainable, 


it IS most probable that his arrival dates from 1810 or 1812. On- De- 
cember 22, 1813, he purchased from General Samuel Hopkins, agent 
of Richard Henderson & Co., lots Nos. 95 and 96, half of the square 
lying on the west side of Third Street, between Green and Elm. On 
the third of September, 1814, he purchased lots Nos. 91 and 92, half 
of the square lying on the west side of Second Street, between Green 
and Elm. 


The first mention of High Street is made in this year, and that 
in connection with an order from the County Court, appointing Meri- 
dith Fisher, John Husbands, Joseph Fuquay and Jacob Sprinkle com- 
missioners to view a roadway from High Street, in the Town of Hen- 
derson, and such other streets and lots as to them may seem best to 
intersect the roads leading to Highland a.nd Green River, at the 
mouth of Lick Creek. From the best information, the present First 
Street was originally called High Street, as Second Street was origi- 
nally known as Mill Street. 

A tobacco, hemp, flour and pork inspection warehouse was es- 
tablished at Perryville, Henderson County, and one in the Town of 
Henderson, on the lot of Philip Barbour, to be called and known by 
the name of Henderson Inspection. 

Nothing of importance occurred during ttie year 1808 save it be 
the building of common board warehouses for the reception of to- 
bacco and articles of general merchandise. It is evidently true, 
however, that the people were distressed for money during that year, 
for out of a depositum of ninety-seven dollars and ninety-eight cents, 
reported by Fielding Jones, acting Sheriff, he also reported a delin- 
quent list amounting to seventy-five dollars and thirty-seven and one- 
half cents. 


On the sixteenth day of February the following act was ap- 
proved : 

''Beit enacted, etc. ^ That it shall and ina\ be lawful for the County 
Courts of the several counties through or by which so much of Green River 
may run as is navigable, to cause the same to be cleared out and kept in a sit 
nation fit for navigation, and for that purpose shall annually in the months of 
July, August or September, lay off said river into precincts and appoint an over 
seer to each precinct, and allot a sufficient number of hands of the male titheables 
of the county to keep the same open for navigation. That it shall be the duty 
of the overseers respectively, to call on the hands, to each of them alloted' 
and within one month thereafter, or as soon thereafter as practicable, to pro- 
ceed with such hands and remove all fish pots and dams of every description, 


remove all logs, cut and clear away all timber projecting over said stream, 
shrub all points of islands, and remove such other obstructions in the channel 
as may impede the navigation of said river. Any overseer failing to do his 
duty shall be subject to the same penalties as are provided against overseers of 
roads, and every titheable failing when called on, shall forfeit and pay the sum 
of seventy-five cents for each day. All titheables working on the river shall 
be exempt from working on any of the public roads, and the number of days 
he shall be required to work on the river shall not exceed three in any one 

For many years men were appointed to work Green River as 
regularly as they were appointed to work the roads of the county. 


The first writ of habeas corpus was granted at the April term of 
the Circuit Court, 1809, to Joseph and Sarah Wendell, and they were 
discharged from the custody of the jailer. 


The first Circuit Court rules were read, recorded aud established 
at the July meeting, and are as follows . 

''First. — There shall not more than two lawyers appear in any civil suit 
or motion, nor shall any lawyer speak more than once, unless where he appears 
alone for the plaintiff, or by leave of the court. 

" Second. — The counsel for the defendant shall a Iways have his pleas ready 
when his suit shall be called, if not, the writ of inquiry shall forthwith be exe- 

" Third.— The plaintiff shall not put his suit at the end of the docket, until 
he has first shown by legal grounds for a continuance, then the clerk shall 
put it at the end of the docket. 

•' Fourth. — A party obtaining a leave to amend (if any amendment operates 
as a continuance) shall pay the whole cost of the term, 

" Fifth. — On motion for a new trial, the grounds upon which such motion 
shall be made, shall be stated in writing, and affidavit filed where proof is nec- 

*' Sixth. — No motion shall be made for a continuance until an affidavit is 
filed, stating the grounds for such continuance ; and where a witness lives out 
of the State, or a second motion is made on account of the absence of the 
same witness, the affidavit must state what the witness will swear. 

"Seventh.— Whenever any suit shall be laid over by consent, it shall be 
put at the end of the docket. 

*' Eighth, — No motion will be heard after the business of the day is taken 

At this time, and prior to this time, it was frequently the case to 
render judgment — especially in cases where the pla intiff was non- 
suited—payable in tobacco, one hundred and fifty pounds or more. 



At this term of the court William B. Smith was indicted and 
fined one hundred dollars for assaulting Uriah Blue, High Sheriff. 


There were dangerous women in those good old days, or else 
there was one great coward. Joseph Wendell, a hard character, who 
had, with his wife been confined in jail and released under a writ of 
habeas corpus, came into court and made affidavit that he feared great 
bodily harm would be done him by Lydia Johnson, Mary Ann and 
Sarah Horton, and prayed that they be recognized to keep the peace. 
This was done, and General Sam'l G. Hopkins, to give emphasis to 
his extreme disgust, or to show his keen appreciation of the female 
sex, volunteered security, which was accepted. Immediately there- 
after at the instance of Mrs. Wendall, the aforesaid Joseph was placed 
under similar bond, but there was no General Hopkins to volunteer 
security, and Joseph was once again placed behind the bars. 

The County Court contracted with John Williams to bridge Lick 
Creek at the Owensboro crossing, and at that time the floor sills were 
only required to be twenty-four feet long. 

The depositum reported by the Sheriff for this year, was two 
hundred and thirty-eight dollars and twenty cent. The delinquent 
list thirty-three dollars. 

By an act of the General Assembly the whole of Richard Hen- 
derson & Co.'s grant of land was taken into Henderson County. 
This was done by an act entitled, '* An act to add part of Ohio 
County to the County of Henderson^^ approved January, 1809, and is 
as follows : 

'*5e it enacted, etc., That from and after the first day of April next, all 
that part of Ohio County comprised within the following bounds, shall be 
added to, and considered a partot tiie County of Henderson, to wit : beginning 
on the Ohio at the mouth of Green River and running up the Ohio to where the 
line ot Henderson & Co.'s grant strikes the same, thence with said line to 
Green River, thence down the same to the beginning." 

By this act, what is now known as the Point Precinct, was added 
to Henderson County. 

During this year, Mr. Phillip Barbour was largely interested in 
the manufacture of salt, at the United States Saline Territory, of Illi- 
nois, and while that necessity was not so unreasonably high in price as 
it was a few years prior to that time, it was yet too high for the con- 
venience of the ordinary pocket-book. It was now manufactured in 
greater quanities, from the fact, with the opening up of the country, 
larger supplies of water had been discovered, and greater convenience 


secured for boiling and evaporating. From an old letter found, the 
following is taken, to give a limited idea of the salt trade, and how it 
was carried on from this section;,at that time. Only a few years be- 
fore, it was a difficult matter to supply Henderson and the surround- 
ing country, but the jdiscovery of the Saline Wells overstocked this 
market, and directed the attention of dealers to other and more 
populous markets. 

On July 25, 1809, Stephen Cantrell, Jr., & Co., Nashville, Tenn., 
wrote Mr. Barbour, acknowledging the receipt of a quantity of salt, 
and stating that the general price of salt in that town had been for 
some weeks past, steady at two dollars per bushel, but in order to 
effect a ready sale of his shipment, they had disposed of the entire lot 
at one dollar and seventy-five cents per bushel ; further, that the price 
would likely fall the approaching season, owing to the exportation of 
large quantities looked for. In this letter was an account of sales in 
which they charge up 5 per cent, commissions for handling and sell- 
ing. In Mr. Barbour's old papers, the following bills of lading were 
found : 

" Shipped in good order and well condition, in and upon the good boat 
called, the ' Nancy.' 31 bbls. salt, for account James Wilson, bound to Nash- 
ville, Tennessee, Charles Stewart, Master." 

*' AprillO, 1809. Shipped in good order, bv Philip Barbour, in and upon 
the good boat called, the "Ohio Packet,' James Barbour, Master, bound for 
Louisville, eighty-four bbls. salt; freight to be paid at the rate of sixty-six cents 
per hundred weight " 


The " Nancy " and " Ohio Packet," were keelboats or barges, 
propelled by hand, for it is well known that there were no steamboats 
at that time. These were drawn up stream by ropes in the hands of 
men trudging on shore by the water's edge. The immensity of this 
undertaking can hardly be realized at this time, for it is something 
fearful nowadays to move an empty barge a few hundred yards up- 
stream, but in early days, before the introduction of steam, men cor- 
delled heavily ladened barges, unconscious of the enormity of the un- 
dertaking, and plodded along in quite as good humor, as will usually 
be found displayed by the crew of one of the largest and finest Ohio 
River steamers. 





^^HE year 1810 found the village of Henderson with a much 
V-y smaller population than it was reported to have had in 1800. The 
census return for 1800 gave Henderson a population numbering two 
hundred and five souls; tlie census return for 1810 gave a population 
of one hundred and fifty-nine souls. There was evidently a mistake 
in the first enumeration, and this is to be accounted for on the ground 
of ignorance on the part of those employed to take the list. It is 
highly probable, and no doubt the fact, that the population of a greater 
part, if not the entire surrounding country, was accredited to the 
town in the census of 1800 ; certainly there was no falling off in the 
population from 1800 to 1810. The census return for 1800 gave 
Henderson County a population of one thousand four hundred and 
sixty-eight souls, and Henderson County at that time embraced all of 
the territory now embraced in the four Counties of Henderson, Hop- 
kins, Union and Webster. The return for 1810 places the population 
at four thousand seven hundred and three souls, an increase of three 
thousand two hundred ^nd thirty-five, and yet Hopkins County em- 
bracing a territory forty miles in length and twenty six in breadth had 
been taken from Henderson. It maybe taken as a settled fact, there- 
fore, that there is an important inaccuracy somewhere, and most posi- 
tively certain that the village of Henderson did not contain a popula- 
tion of two hundred and five souls actual residejits during^ the year 


It is very much to be doubted if the village of Henderson con- 
tained a legitimate population of one hundred and fifty-nine souls in 
1810, for, by reference to the poll books of an election held on the 
first day of May, 1819, for the purpose of choosing five trustees of 
the village, only twenty-one votes were recorded. Estimating the pop- 
ulation at seven to the voter, and assuming that the vote owing to its 
importance was pretty near a full one, the population of the place at 
that time would have been only one hundred and forty-seven. 


Hemp and cotton were both grown in the county this year, but 
with what success it is unknown. G. W. Warde, living on the Ohio 
River between Evansville and its mouth, cultivated both, and at the 
December term of the County Court, made application for the estab- 
lishing of an inspection warehouse. 


At the July term of the Circuit Court Judge Broadnax had his 
temper and judicial courage thoroughly tested by Edward Cheatham, 
one of the venirmen, who was a man of some importance at that time. 

Mr. Cheatham engaged in conversation, and being rather strong 
of lung, inteirupted the business of the court. He was admonished 
by the Judge and yet persisted. He was fined six dollars, and this 
seemed to incense him ; he was fined ten dollars once, twice, and yet 
he refused to be quiet ; he was fined thirty dollars, once, twice and 
three times, and still he defied his Honor, the Judge. Finally he was 
ordered to prison in the custody of the jailer, there to remain until 
his several fines, aggregating one hundred and sixteen dollars, were 
paid, or secured to the Commonwealth. He ranted and raved, as he 
journeyed on to the house of correction, and not until having slept one 
night a prisoner, and calculating the cost, did he come to a proper 
understanding of how foolishly he had acted, and the extent of his 
beligerency. He succumbed to the magesty of the law, and prayed 
pardon, which was granted next day. This determined course of Judge 
Broadnax ever afterwards secured him the respect due his position, 
and no more self-important men tempted his authority. 


Horse racing was extremely fashionable in 1810, and perhaps 
more than half a dozen tracks were located at different points in the 
county, where men would congregate and bet from a gill of cider to 
twenty-five, and even fifty dollars lawful money. Those men who* fre- 
quented such places were, as a general rule, wild fellows, given to 
frolic and recklessness, and caring little for the Sabbath day. 


militia was descending the Mississippi River to aid in the defense, 
.and when it arrived at New Orleans, was almost entirely without arms 
or ammunition, nor were there-^^-any adequate magazines in the city 
from which they could be supplied. Several boat loads of arms had 
been shipped at Pittsburg, and were then struggling through the 
shoals of the Ohio, and such was Jackson's preparation for defense. 
General Thomas' Division of Kentucky Militia arrived in the early 
part of January, but could not at first muster over five hundred mus- 
kets. Immense exertions were made to arm them, and even on the 
day of battle, there were six hundred ready and anxious to fight, who 
could not procure a musket or shotgun, with which to defend their 


Early in December, Captain Robert Smith, of Henderson County, 
and father of the present County Clerk, embarked with his company 
on board a flatboat en route to join the other Kentuckians, who were 
moving down the river to reinforce Jackson's little army. Hender- 
son was represented in this command by Captain Robert Smith ; First 
Lieutenant, Morton Rucker ; Asa Turner, Ensign ; Thomas Kilgour, 
Payne Dixon, Joel Lambert, John McGraw, William Lambert, Wil- 
liam Sandefur, Charles M. Brown, William Arnett, John Mayho, 
Strother Berry, John Vickers, William Tupin, Dan. Powell, Philip Mc 
Namar, Thomas Skillet, Eneas Hardin Obediah Keach , John Fu- 
quay, Jesse Stephens, Samuel Butler, Daniel Bromley, John Slayden, 
Stephen Rouse, Captain Holmes, Handley Harmon, Captain J. B. 
Anthony, and many others. 

In this boat they proceeded as far as Smithland, at the mouth of 
Cumberland River, where they were transferred to an ordinary horse- 
boat. This was a miserable, rickety affair, and absolutely filthy, so 
much so, many of the mfen were taken sick, and seven of them died be- 
fore reaching Natchez. This sickness and death was attributed to the un- 
healthy condition of the horse-boat, ^nd upon arriving at Natchez, 
another boat was provided, and in this they floated to their landing 
place, at the bank in front of the city, arriving on the evening of the 
fourth of January, 1815. 

Thus we find Captain Smith and his little band of patriots landed 
at the City of New Orleans. They arrived there late in the evening 
of the fourth, every man eager to be assigned a place directly in front 
of a Red Coat, or, if needs be, on the picket line. 

More than one of them had promised friends and relatives, whom 
they had left behind, a red coat, as a memento of the great battle to 


be fought, and actuated more by this, perhaps, than any other incen 
tive, they were almost uncontrolable. They fumed and fretted, they 
complained, and yet it seemed as though they were destined to be 
left behind. The company had no arms, and for a time it looked as 
though they would never be supplied. This enraged many of them, 
and all the camp guards and strict military regulations were hardly 
sufficient to restrain these determined fellows and keep them within 
bounds. Several of them, disregarding all rules of discipline, secretly 
abandoned camp, and before morning returned with a gun apiece which 
they had purchased or purloined. On January 7, their great anxiety 
was satisfied by the arrival of guns and ammunition, and they, with the 
other Kentucky troops, were assigned a most important place in the 
line of battle. 


Was cloudy and misty, and about daybreak General Packenham pre- 
sented his compliments, by the firing of two rockets in the air, which 
were the signals to move forward. The Kentuckians little dreamed, 
while floating down the Mississippi unarmed, and suffering the priva- 
tions incident to those early times, that they were so soon to stand 
face to face in front of the Duke of Wellington's trained soldiers ; sold- 
iers who had met and defeated the great Napoleon only a short time 
previous ; soldiers who had been taught to know no fear, to respect no 
danger ; but these were the men whom the militia had volunteered to 
drive from Louisiana soil. About eleven hundred Kentucky militia, 
and a Tennessee brigade, formed the center of Jackson's army be- 
hind breast works. 

The Kentuckians were commanded by General Ad ir, who 
formed a reserve corps, and were directed to march to the assailed 
point and strengthen the line there. Lt was well understood that an 
attack would be made on the eighth, and the Kentucky troops were 
marched to the lines before daylight, and halted a few yards from the 
center uotil the grand point of. attack should be disclosed. An em- 
inent historian says in his story of the battle : 

•'It was intended that the lines should have a depth of ten files at the 
point of attack, so that the stream of fire should be incessant Thf front rank 
alone would fire as fast as the nine ranks behind could pass forward their 
loaded muskets, receiviiig those discharged in their places, 

" When the point of attack had been clearly disclosed, the Kentuckians 
were ordered to close up with the Tennesseans, upon whom it was evident the 
storm was about to burst. 

"In three columns the English veterans of six glorious campaigns, cov^ 
ered with renown as with a garment, and hitherto victorious on every field, 


rushed against an earthen breastwork, defended by men who had hurried from 
the plow and the workshop, to meet the invaders of their country. The fog 
lay thick and heavy upon the ground, but the measured step of the center col- 
umn was heard long before it became visible, and the artillery opened upon 
them, directed by the sound of the mighty host, which bore forward as one 
man to the assault. At the first burst of artillery the fog slowly lifted and dis- 
closed the center column advancing in deepsilence, but with a swift and stead} 

•'The field was level as the surface of the calmest lake, and the artillery 
plowed through the column from front to rear without a moment slacking its 
pace or disordering the beautiful precisions of its formation. 

"Its head was pointed against the center of the Kentucky and Tennessee line, 
whose ten ranks of musketry stood ready to fire, and as soon as it came within 
one hundred and fifty yards the musketry opened with destructive efl:ect. Then 
there was a inoment's pause in the fire. The artillery along the whole line 
discharged showers of grape, the roar of musketry was as one deep uninter- 
rupted thunder like the roar of one hundred waterfalls, and the central breast- 
work tor four hundred yards was in a bright and long-continued blaze, which 
dazzled the eye, yet the heroic British column still bore forward into the 
very jaws of death. The head of the column actually reached the American 
ditch, and were there killed or taken. The residue f)aused and seemed be- 
wildered for a moment, and then retired in disorder under the same extermin- 
ating torrent of fire, which had greeted their advance. 

'•Their commander, General Packenham, and Generals Gibbs and Kean, 
next in command, had fallen. A host of inferior oflicers had shared the same 
fate, and their organization for the time was destroyed " 


Who fought with undaunted courage throughout the entire battle, de- 
clared to the writer that at times his gun, from extreme heat produced 
by rapid firing, became unbearable to the hands. During the greater 
part of the firing, so dense was the smoke, the enemy could not be 
seen, and when the firing ceased and the British were found to be in 
full retreat, several of the Henderson boys mounted the breastworks 
and were about to rush out upon the field to secure a red coat, when 
they were peremptorily ordered back. The Henderson company 
fought on both sides of the Mississippi, having crossed over after the 
repulse of General Packenham to reinforce General Morgan, who 
was engaging the enemy with about 1,000 militia. On that side the 
Americans were repulsed. 

After the battle the troops went into camp, and remained until 
April, when the Kentucky boys started on their journey home over- 
land, on foot. 




In passing through New Orleans, the ladies and citizens 
cheered them lustily, the ladies showering upon them bouquets of 
beautiful flowers, as an evidence of their high appreciation of the bril- 
liant and self-sacrificing service rendered in behalf of the safety of 
their beautiful Southern home. 

The march from New Orleans to Natchez was a terribly hard 
one, and by some means the commissary department had been 
neglected, and the soldiers were actually suffering from the want of 
something to eat. At Natchez, several of the soldiers traded for and 
purchased horses, which they ro^e home. 


In the month of May the Henderson soldiers arrived at their 
home, and were received with shouts of joy by their friends and kins- 
men. They had performed a noble duty, and won for themselves the 
gratulations of their countrymen. They had been foremost in the 
battle, and had been chiefly instrumental in defeating, certainly one 
of the grandest armies the sun had ever shown upon. 

FLOOD OF 1815. 

In April of this year the flood in the Ohio River was higher than 
ever known since 1793. 


At the March term of the Circuit Court James Davis was in- 
dicted for felonously counterfeiting money. He was tried, and sent 
to the State prison for three years. A specimen of his work is on 
file in the Circuit Court Clerk's office, and is certainly the equal of 
any engraving done at this day. With the exception of the paper 
used, the work is very superior. 

At this term of the court Assistant Judge Knox was again in- 
dicted for the exercise of one of his youthful indiscretions, which 
seemed to hang to him in his comparative old age. 

Walter Alves, who had been commissioned to fill the vacancy 
occasioned by the resignation of Dr. Adam Rankin, Associate Judge, 
produced his commission and was qualified at the June term. 


On the third day of February, 1816, the following act " to further 
regulate Circuit Courts " was approved : 

*^ Be it enacted, etc., That so much of any and every law, as creates the 
office of Assistant Judge, shall be, and the same is hereby repealed, and the Cir- 


cuit Judge of each Circuit Court shall alone possess all the power and author- 
ity for the trial of criminal and civil cases as the Circuit Courts heretofore 

In obedience ta this act, Assistant Judges Hugh Knox and Wal- 
ter Alves stepped aside, and left Judge Broad nax alone in his glory 
for the first time. 

In the early part of this year Benjamin Stevenson, of the Ter- 
ritory of Illinois, sold to Samuel Givens, of Union County, four hun- 
dred and five acres of land for one thousand gallons of whisky, esti- 
mated to be worth nine shillings per gallon. On the sixteenth day 
of January 


Was appointed and commissioned one of the judges of the Illinois 
Territory. Upon a superb piece of parchment and written in a bold, 
legible hand, appears the following : 

" James Madison, President of the United States of America to all who 
shall see these j^^'^sen^s greeting. Know ye. that reposing special trust and 
confidence in the wisdom, uprightness and learning of Thomas Towles, of 
Kentucky, I have nominated, and by and with the advice of the Senate, do 
appoint him one ot the judges in and over the Illinois Territory, and do au- 
thorize and empower him to execute and fulfill the duties of that office according 
to law, and to have, and to hold the said office with all the powers, privileges 
and emoluments to the same of right appertaining, during his good behavior or 
during the existence of the government established by the act of the Congress 
of the United States, passed the third day of February, 1809, entitled an act 
for dividing the Indiana Territory into two separate governments, and the or- 
dinance of Congress passed on the thirteenth day of July, 1787, therein re- 
ferred to, he to reside in the said Territory. In testimony, 

" By the President— JAMES MADISON, 

'•James Monroe, Secretary of State." 

Subsequent to this, Mr. Towles qualified, as will appear from the 
following certificate : 

*' Illinois Territory — 

'* Personally appeared before me, Ninian Edwards, Governor of the Ter- 
ritory aforesaid, Thomas Towles, who took the oath of fidelity to the United 
States, and the oath of office as judge in and over the Territory aforesaid. 
Given under my hand and seal, this seventh day of March, 1816. 


"bogus currency." 
While both population and business were increasing, and the 
town and county were otherwise steadily growing, great difficulty was 
experienced in the effort to get a satisfactory medium of exchange. 


This was the beginning of the period when the old banking system held 
sway. Paper money of all kinds and denominations began to flood 
the country, worthless bank-notes, private bills, and other shin-plas- 
ters, seemed determined to crowd out the specie currency, that had 
been common in use. Disaster came upon many of the business men, 
and a want of confidence limited all kinds of transactions in which 
money played the greater part. During the year, petitions were circu- 
lated over the counties of the State, praying for banking facilities. 
Every county wanted a bank, and Henderson, like the rest, was 
greatly excited over the proposition. As I go along through the years 
1817 and '18, the reader will see what was the effect of this financial 


On the sixteenth day of March John J. Audubon, who had been a 
resident of Henderson since 1812, and Thomas W. Bakewell, under 
the firm name of Audubon & Bakewell, made application to Daniel 
Comfort, William P. Bowen, Wyatt H. Ingram, Fayette Posey and 
Bennett Marshall, trustees of the Town of Henderson, to lease for the 
term of ninety-five years, a portion of the river front, for the purpose 
of locating and erecting a steam sawmill. The Trustees, after 
mature deliberation, and fully considering the premises, granted to 
the petitioners the margin of Water Street, beginning at a post two 
hundred feet from the upper corner of lot No. 4 on the cross street, 
(Second Street), thence down Water Street two hundred and twenty 
feet to a post, thence at right angles from each of said posts to the 
Ohio River, reserving the free and uninterrupted use of the front for 
navigation and landing of boats, etc., for, and in consideration of the 
sum of twenty dollars to be paid annually. During the year the mill 
was built, and is yet standing to-day, perhaps the strongest frame in 
the city. It is the second or far section of the David Clark factory, 
now standing on the corner of Water and Second cross streets, and is 
the oldest building now standing in Henderson. 


Henderson, during 1817, enjoyed, as she had done for several 
years previous, the privileges of a good school. The Trustees of the 
old Seminary had in their employ one Elisha N. Plumb, of Philadel- 
phia, a man of fine training and considerable experience as a teacher. 
In the Seminary building religious services were held on the Sabbath, 
and all in all the religious and educational interests of the community 
were well provided for. 


The commercial advantages of the town had become more sisnifi- 
cant, and as a general thing all branches of trade then established 
were doing at least a. living business. The crops of the county were 
larger this year, and indeed, had assumed magnificant proportions. 
The inspection warehouses during this year handled over fifteen hun- 
dred hogsheads of tobacco, of this number the Henderson house re- 
ceived three hundred and eighteen hogsheads, and Ingram nnd Posey 
six hundred and eighty-four. 


The first steamboat built in Kentucky, and the fourteenth boat 
built on the Western waters was the *'Pike," built by J. Prentiss at 
Henderson. She was a twenty-five ton boat, and built for the trade 
from Louisville to St. Louis ; afterwards ran in the Red River 
trade, and was lost on a sawyer in March 1818. 

This same year Samuel Bowen and John J. Audubon, built a 
small steamboat, and a short time after her completion, the officer in 
command ran her out of the Ohio, and Audubon thinking all was not 
well, followed on in a skiff, but failed to overtake her until his arrival 
at New Orleans. Here he seized the boat and rather than suffer fur- 
ther annoyance, sold the craft at a sacrifice. 

ITEMS OF 1818. 
The value of real estate in the growing village had considerably 
increased, and the future promised great things. Audubon and Bake- 
well had not only built, and were successfully working a large steam 
grist mill, but in addition had built and were successfully opera- 
ting a large sawmill. The old-fashioned whip-saw, with its long and 
tiresome stroke, had now to succumb to the work of machinery, driven 
by steam. A bank was promised, and before the end of the year was 
in full blast ; brick yards had been established, and a strong disposi- 
tion to build, manifested itself among the inhabitants. The house in 
which Mr. James Graves and family now reside was built by Harris 
& Tobin. All of the interior wood work, and most of the weather- 
boarding, which was made of pine, is still intact, and better to-day 
than that which has been replaced within the last ten years. All of 
the brick work done at that time was laid in the Flemish bond, a more 
expensive, and far more substantial mode than is adopted at this time. 
Brick work done after the Flemish bond system, in after years be- 
came, it is said, as solid as stone and almost impossible to be torn to 
pieces. About midway of the same square, between Main and Elm 
on Clay, or Lower Third Street, Harris & Tobin built and operated, 


for years, the first tobacco stemmery known in this section of the 
country. This old house stood back from the street line and was only 
torn down when incapacitated by age, and inferiority of design and 
capacity to successfully compete with larger, and more conveniently 
located houses. In this house A. B. Barrett, first commenced the 
tobacco business, and continued there until he was better suited in 
another house, higher up-town. 


About this time there was one of those periodical booms, which 
Henderson has so often experienced, and by which up to this time she 
has been so little benefitted. Land and town lots — (to use a common 
expression), went clear out of sight, and wages out of all reason. 
The people seemingly went wild, and fully ten or fifteen houses were 
built durins: the vear. 

This was one of the years, for which the civil history of Kentucky 
is memorable, by the dreadful monetary derangement which lead to 
the passage of the relief laws, and gave rise to the most embittered 
and violent conflict of parties which has ever occurred in Kentucky. 
The financial affairs of the civilized world were in a painful state of 
disorder. The long wars of the French revolution had banished gold 
and silver from circulation as money, and had substituted an inflated 
paper currencv, by which nominal prices were immensely enhanced- 
At the return of peace, a restoration of specie payments, and the re- 
turn of Europe to industrial pursuits, caused a great fall in the nom- 
inal value of commodities, accompanied by bankruptcy upon an enor- 
mous scale. In Kentucky the violence of this crisis was enhanced by 
the charter of forty Independent banks, with an aggregate capital of 
nearly ten millions of dollars, which were by law permitted to redeem 
their notes, with the paper of the bank of Kentucky, instead of specie. 
These banks were chartered at the Session of 1817-18. Every little 
town and village in Kentucky wanted a bank, and Henderson was 
among the foremost. On January 26, 1818, an act to establish inde- 
pendent banks in this Commonwealth was approved. 


Among the number is the following: " A bank, to be denom- 
inated the Bank of Henderson, in the Town of Hendersqn, with a 
capital of one hunded and fifty thousand dollars, to be divided into 
one thousand five hundred shares of one hundred dollars each, un- 
der the direction of Samuel A. Bowen, James Wilson, James Hillyer, 
Walter Alves, Nicholas C. Horseley, Leonard Lyne and Wyatt H. 
Ingram, or a majority of them, for the sale of stock, and continue 


open for sixty days, unless the stock is sooner taken up." The sub- 
scribers, their successors and assigns were made a corporation and 
body politic in law, and in fact, b^' the name and style of the President, 
Directors and Company, of the Bank of Henderson, and were au- 
thorized to continue until the last day of December, 1837. 

This bank was given plenary, or full banking powers, and directed, 
as soon as one-fifth of the capital stock was actually received on ac- 
count of the subscriptions, to give notice in two newspapers, printed 
in the State, to notify a time and place in the town, giving at least 
thirty day's notice for proceeding to the choice of a president and 
eight directors. The Board of Directors were invested with all power 
usually given officers of such corporations. The bank notes thrown 
into circulation, were restricted to three times the amount of capital, 
over and above the moneys then actually deposited in the bank, and 
in case of excess, the directors shall be individually liable for the 
same. Under this act, the Bank of Henderson organized, with what 
amount of paid up capital, it has been impossible to ascertain. Cap- 
tain Samuel Anderson was elected the first president, and James Hill- 
yer the first cashier. Monied transactions were pretty heavy in those 
days, as is evidenced by old notes appearing here and there, in old- 
time papers, now worthless. 

The Bank of Henderson commenced business in a two-story log 
house, which stood on the southeast corner of Main and Second 
Streets, and at the same time commenced the building of a brick bank- 
ing house on Main Street. As a great many corporations have foolishly 
done before, the directors of this bank concluded to furnish all mate- 
rials, and pay. for all labor by the day, or by the job, as the case might 
be. Moses Morgan and John Mason were employed to do the wood- 
work, and Francis Hammill, the brick-work. The lumber was pur. 
chased from the " Henderson Steam Mill, " operated by John Audu- 
bon & Co., and the brick manufactured by the company. As a conse- 
quence of this plan, the house cost a third more than it ought to have 
cost, and the building committee engaged in a continued dispute with 
the workmen. Francis Hammill'sbill was disputed, and by agreement, 
submitted to John Lewis and Charles Peck, brick masons, who after 
calmly considering and investigating, gave Hammill more than he 
claimed. Another trouble, was the delay in getting work done. Most 
of the directors had a hand in the building, yet everyone of them 
charged liberally for all he or they did. This building, which is now 
known as the Kerr, Clark & Co. Counting Room, was begun in May, 
1818, and completed the latter part of 1819. The following is the 
estimate made by Lewis and peck, of the number of brick used : 


Amount of brick in the Bank House, Henderson : 

Basement story 32,410 

First story 03,570 

Second story 43,580 

Parapet walls 10,136 

Vault 19,800 

Shaft of chimney 1,575 

Deduction for chimney 3,000 


Francis Hammill's bill for brick work, which was allowed by the 
committee of arbitration, was three dollars per thousand for laying 
in the wall, twelve arches at three dollars each, and one arch at five 
dollars. This was the arch over the front door. The following is 
one of Audubon's bills : 

" To the President and Directors of the Bank of Henderson, to Henderson 

Steam Mill. Dr 

To three pieces of scantling. 56 feet, at 4V<c $2 52 

To two pieces of scantling, 34 feet 

To sixty rafters. 714 feet, at 4c 28 56 

To five pieces scantling, 40 feet, at 3c 1 20 

To fifteen joints, 278^ feet, Gc 16 71 

$48 99 
* J. J. AUDUBON & CO." 

The putty — thirty pounds used in glazing, cost forty cents per 
pound, only thirty-six cents per pound more than the same material 
is worth at this time. In the same summer of 1818, when the Bank 
of Henderson commenced business, the State was flooded with paper 
money, and to add to this financial uncertainty, our bank turned loose 
a goods boxfull of her notes. With this, speculation sprung up in all 
directions, large loans were rashly made, and as rashly expended. 
Most of these financial bubbles exploded within one year, and only a 
few were alive at the end of two vears. Following: in the wake of 
the unfortunates, the Bank of Henderson, after two years of unsuc- 
cessful business, turned her toes to the daisies, and effected a settle- 
ment as best she could. In the meantime, the pressure of debt be- 
came terrible, and the power to replevy judgments was extended by 
the Legislature, from three to twelve months, by an act passed at the 
session of 1819-20. 

The following bit of history, as much to be applied to Hender- 
son as any other county, is reproduced simply to give the reader a 


faint idea of the frightful condition of monetary affairs throughout 
Kentucky, after the forty banks had been incorporated and let out 
their circulating issue. During&the year 1819, this monetary distress 
became more and more alarming, and in the summer of 1820, the cry 
for further relief became overwhelming. Vast majorities of both 
houses of the Legislature were pledged to some measure which should 
relieve the debtor from the consequences of his rashness. The reign 
of political quackery was in its glory. The sufferings of the patient 
were too acute to permit him to listen to the regular physician, who 
prescribed, time^ industry and economy as the only honest and just rem- 
edy. He turned eagerly to the quacks, who promised him instantane- 
ous relief, by infallible nostrums, and specifics tvithout pain, luithout 
self-denial, and without paying the penalty which nature always im- 
poses upon any gross violation of her laws. The great cry of the people 
was, more money, and their heaviest complaint was, debt. Therefore 
the Legislature of 1820-21 chartered the bank called the " Bank of the 
Commonwealth," which was relieved from all danger of suspension, 
by not being required even to redeem its specie. Its paper was made 
payable and receivable for public debts and taxes, and certain lands, 
owned by the State, south of Tennessee River, were pledged for the 
final redemption of its notes. Its business was to pour out paper in 
profusion, in order to make money plenty. The creditor was required 
to receive this bank paper in payment of all his debts, and if he refused 
to do so, the debtor was authorized to replevy the debt for the space 
of two years. By more mad legislation, the paper of the new bank 
sank rapidly to one-half its nominal value, and the creditor had his 
choice of two evils — one was to receive half of his debt in payment 
of the whole, and the other was to receive nothing at all for two 
years, and at the end of that time, do the best he could, running the 
risk ot new delays at the end of that time, and the bankruptcy of his 
securities. The indignation of the creditor at this wholesale confis- 
cation of his property, can be imagined, and as a consequence, society 
rapidly arranged itself into two parties, called Relief and anti-Relief. 
The constitutionality of the Commonwealth Bank act was tested and 
decided against the State. This decision created intense indignation 
among the debtor class, which was at that time in a large majority. An 
appeal was taken to the Court of Appeals, and the question came di- 
rectly before them at the fall term, 1823. Their decision was awaited 
with intense anxiety by all parties. Terrible denunciations of popu- 
lar vengeance in advance, if they dared to thwart the will of a vast 
majority of the people, were intended to warp their judgments or 


operate upon their fears. The Judges had maintained an unbroken 
silence, but when called upon, delivered their opinion seriatim and at 
length, calmly concurring with their brethren of the Circuit Court, 
that the act was in violation of the Constitution of the United States 
and totally void. The opinion created an immense sensation through- 
out every county of the State, and the conflict of parties was renewed 
with redoubled fury. 

The majority now determined to sweep from their path, and 
make an example to future ages, of the three calm and recluse stu- 
dents, who had dared to set up reason against rage, and the majesty 
of truth and law against the popular will. The great majority had 
been accustomed to make and unmake, to set up and pull down at its 
sovereign will and pleasure. The judiciary, by the Constitution, 
held their offices during good behavior and nothing less than two- 
thirds of both houses could remove them. 

The canvass of 1824 was conducted with the hope of obtaining 
this result. General Joseph Desha, candidate of the relief party, 
was elected by a large majority, a vast majority of both houses were 
of the relief party. At the following meeting of the Legislature the 
three Judges were summoned before the Legislative bar and assigned 
reasons at length for their decision. This was unsatisfactory to the 
crazed majority, and a vote was taken to remove the Judges of the 
Supreme Court, but a constitutional majority of two-thirds could not 
be obtained. They found they could not remove the Judges by im- 
peachment or address, because their majority, although large, was 
not two-thirds of each house, but they could repeal the act, by which 
the Court of Appeals had been organized and could pass an act or- 
ganizing a new court. 

A bill to this effect was drawn up and passed by a large major- 
ity in the House of Representatives, and by a nearly equal majority 
in the Senate. No time was lost in organizing the new court, the old 
court, however, denied the constitutionality of the act, and still con- 
tinued to sit as a Court of Appeals. A large majority of the bar of 
Kentucky recognized them as the true court, and a great majority of 
the Circuit Court Judges obeyed the mandates as implicitly as if no 
reorganizing act had passed. The title of parties now changed from 
relief and anti-relief to old court and new court. 

Great activity was exerted in. the canvass of 1825, and never 
were the passions of the people more violently excited. The result 
was the triumph of the old court party by a large majority in the 
popular branch of the Legislature, while the Senate still remained at- 
tached to the new court. 


In the canvass of 1826 both parties arrayed in final struggle for 
the command of the Senate, and the old court party again tri- 
um )hed. At the ensuing sessfon of the Legislature the obnoxious 
act was repealed, thcopinion of Governor Desha to the contrary, and 
the three old Judges re-established de facto as well as de jure. Their 
salaries were voted them during their forcible and illegal removal 
from office, and all acts of the new court treated as a nullitv. This 
certainly was one of the most signal triumphs of Irw and order, over 
the fleeting passions of people, which has ever been recorded in the 
annals of a free people. 

The fate of the Commonwealth Bank, and its almost unlimited 
amount of worthless paper currency, and the replevin laws connected 
with it, was forever sealed by the triumph of the old court party. The 
replevin laws were repealed, and the bank extinguished by successive 
acts of the Legislature, which directed that its paper should be grad- 
ually burned, instead of reissued. In a few years, its paper disap- 
peared from circulation. New banks were afterwards chartered and 
another vast quantity of paper money put afloat to stimulate the wild- 
est spirit of speculation. Everybody rushed into the market to borrow 
money to carry out some pet thought or wild scheme, but this fabric was 
too baseless, and unreal to endure. In the spring of 1837, all of the 
banks of Kentucky suspended specie payment. In this state of things 
the Legislature of 1837 met and legalized the suspension of the banks. 
By the exercise of superior business tact, the financial condition of 
things was again brought to a satisfactory conclusion, and the coun- 
ties of the State again took on new life. During these troublous 
times Henderson County was fortunate to be represented by Leonard 
H. Lyne, Samuel G. Hopkins and Judge George Morris. Hender- 
son County's history during this time, and since, is so closely inter- 
woven with that of the State that it would be impossible to give a sat- 
isfactory view of the subjects which engrossed the attention of the 
people, without entering into details forbidden by the plan of an out- 
line sketch like this. It is safe to say, however, that political relief 
and anti-relief, old and new court, excitement ran as high in Hender- 
son as in any other county in the State, but from the character of men 
elected to represent the county during the time, we may safely con- 
clude that Henderson stood by the honor of the State, and was en- 
rolled with those, whose inherent attachment to sober and rational 
liberty, guided them in every action, public or private. 


During this year a number of town lots and lands, sold under the 
act of Congress of March 5 and April 26, 1816, for direct tax, were 
redeemed. The following receipt goes to show how low down the 
Government of the United States did go in those days for tax money: 

" Received, the twentj-ninth dav of November, 18. 8, from Thomas K, 
Moore, the sum oi ihirty-Jive cents, being the amovmt of the purchase money 


for one lot in Henderson Counlj, in the Fifth District of Kentucky, contain- 
ing one lot in Henderson, on Water Street, sold under the acts of Congress 
March 5 and April 26, 1816, to satisfy the direct tax of 1816, and additions 
thereto, due by Jacob Keel for tax 29 cents. John II. Moore, addition of 20 
per ct 6-35 cts. collector designated by the Secretary of the Treasury in the 
State of Kentucky." ' 


A native of Galota, near Constantinople, Turkey, a naturalist of 
great reputation, spent some time during the early part of this year 
with Mr. Audubon.. He came down the river in an " Ark," which he 
owned and occupied conjointly with another. 


During the session of the Legislature, 1818, an act for the im- 
provement of Green River was passed and approved. This act did 
away with the system of working Green River by overseers ap- 
pointed by the County Court, and appropriated ten thousand dollars 
annually of the State dividend of the stock of the Bank of Ken- 
tucky, for the purpose of improving the navigation of the river and 
its navigable branches. 


At the regular term of the Circuit Court the only order entered 
of record, was written by Judge Broadnax, in his own hand, and was 
quite a compliment to the Circuit Clerk. The following is a copy of 
the order : 

" It appearing to the satisfaction of the court, that Ambrose Barbour, clerk 
of this court, is too much indisposed to attend to the duties of his office during 
the present term, it is ordered that court adjourn until the next term. 


The first murder, of which the Circuit Court had judicial notice, 
and the second one since the formation of the county, was committed 
in 1818. This was the celebrated case of Stephen Grimes and Charles 
E. Carr, for killing Lemuel Cheaney, near Colonel Elias D. Powell's 
meadow farm, a brief sketch of which will be found under the head 
of " Sketchs and Recollections." 


At the March term of the Circuit Court, John Boyle was the 
first British subject to renounce allegiance to the Queen. 

Charles E. Carr was tried at this term for the murder of Lemuel 
Cheaney, found guilty, and sentenced to be hung ; was subsequently 
hung, to-wit : on the twenty-sixth day of July. 

Jean Spidel, for himself, wife and children, late subjects of the 
Duke of Wertemburg, Germany, asked to become a citizen of the 
United States. The family consisted of Jean Spidel, thirty-three 
years of age ; Charlbtte Elizabeth Spidel, thirty-five years ; John, 
eleven vears, and Christian, three vears of ajje. 

The first suit for slander, brought in the county, was that of Dan- 
iel Toole vs. Gabriel Homes, brought at this term of the court. Toole 
proved his case, and was given a verdict for four hundred and twen- 
ty-five dollars. 



/^HE census of 1810 gave Henderson County 4,703 population. 
^^ The census of 1820 gave a population of 5,714, an increase in 
ten years of 1,011 souls. The population of the Village of Hender- 
son, in 1810, according to the census, was 159. The population for 
1828, is not given. Assuming the increase of the village population 
to have equaled that of the county, as a whole, we may conclude as 
that of the county was over twenty per cent., the village may safely 
be estimated at twenty per cent., which would then make the popula- 
tion in 1820, the year of which we are now writing, 1,191, all told. A 
sort of boom struck the county this year, and immigration came in 
fast, both to the county and village. Immigration had been alarm- 
ingly slow prior to that time, and as an evidence of it, the liberal 
terms offered by General Samuel Hopkins, agent of Richard Hen- 
derson & Co., in the disposition of their town and out lots, had been 
embraced by but very few persons. The lot on the corner of Water 
and Upper Fifth Street, now the property of Hugh Kerr, was not dis- 
posed of until 1819, and then it was donated to Wyatt Ingram. 


Agreeably to an act of the Legislature to divide the county into 
certain precincts, and to allot a constable to each district, the county 
proceeded to lay off the county as follows : 

First Precinct, to include the Town of Henderson and all that 
part of the county lying above the Smith's Ferry Road. Second Pre- 


cinct, between the Smith's Ferry Road and the road to Christian 
County Court House, and the Third Precinct, below the Christian 
Road, and between that and the Ohio River. There had been but 
t one voting place prior to that time, and that was at the Court House. 
This division of three precincts, created three voting places - one 
at the Court House, one at Zachariah Galloway's, near what is now 
known as Hebardsville, and one at Cannon's, ^in what is now known 
as Walnut Bend. Owing to the old system of three days' election, 
ample time was given each voter to attend and cast his vote. 

There were two new towns — mushroom like — sprung up in the 
county, this year. One was called Bellville, and the other Felixville. 

Arrangements for grinding grain became more satisfactory, for ' 
the reason a great number of grist mills were established. Most of 
these mills were built along creeks, to be run by water, during the 
rainy or wet weather seasons, and in addition had what was known as the 
sweep attachment, to be operated by horses or oxen, but subsequently 
the tread was substituted for the sweep. 

During this year an established rate of fare between the Falls of 
the Ohio and New Orleans, was agreed upon, in which a passenger 
from New Orleans to the '• Red Banks," or Henderson, was taxed one 
hundred and ten dollars, and going down stream, from the Falls of 
the Ohio to Henderson, the sum of ten dollars. While this would be 
considered an exhorbitant charge at this time, at that time it was con- 
sidered so much cheaper than walking, no man who could spare the 
price of passage, would have been safe to complain. 

It is calculated that this year there were sixty-eight steamboats on 
the rivers, with an aggregate tonnage of twelve thousand seven hun- 
dred and seventy; yet, for a long period, until economy of time be- 
came more important in human life, travel and freight stood mostly 
by the old keel and flatboats. 

The Court of Claims for Henderson County, in estimating the 
necessary expenditures of the county for this year, laid the levy at 
one dollar and twenty-five cents per tithable. The Commissioners of 
Tax reported, for 1820, fifteen hundred and forty-six tithables, and 
this number, at one dollar and twenty five cents, gave the county one 
thousand nine hundred and thirty-two dollars and fifty cents, from 
which amount, delinquents had to be deducted. 


From some cause, unknown to the records, the Court of Claims 
this year reduced the annual levy. The Commissionors of tax reported 


sixteen hundred and sixly-four tithables, and the court laid the levy 
at one dollar each, making a total of $1,664 subject to delinquencies. 

The winter of eighteen hundred and twenty-one and two, is said 
to have brought the mercury to the intense degree of twenty degrees 
below zero. 

December 21, an act was approved directing a change in the time 
of holding the courts of the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit,composedJof the 
counties of Muhlenberg, Henderson^ Hopkins, Union, Daviess, Breck- 
enridge, and Ohio. Under this act the courts of Henderson were 
held, commencing on the fourth Monday in March, June, and Septem- 
ber, and continued six juridical days. 

An act passed prior to this, but during the same month, directed 
that a Circuit Judge and Commonwealth's attorney be appointed for 
the Fourteenth District, who should reside in the district. Soon after 
the passage of this act. Judge Alney McLean of Muhlenberg, was 
appointed, and served for years with great ability and satisfaction. 
In the latter part of this year or the early part of 1822, John J. Audu- 
bon removed from Henderson. 


Commissioners reported, fifteen hundred and sixty-eight tith- 
ables, and the levy was laid at one dollar and a quarter per head. It 
will be observed that the tithable population fluctuated greatly, and 
that the solid growth of the county was lamentable about this time. 

The tithable population in 1821, showed sixteen hundred and 
sixty-four, ninety-six more than the present year, and this number 
was not agam reached before 1828. 


Agreeably to an act of the General Assembly, the County Court, 
by Commissioners, divided the county into twelve school districts. 
This, with the exception of the splendid achievement of the Trustees 
of the Henderson Academy, was the first public recognition of the 
necessity of a general diffusion of knowledge throughout the county ; 
yet nothing was done for many years subsequent to that time. 

It was enacted December 11, " That whenever there shall be 
five Mondays in the months of March, June and September, or either 
of them, the term of the Henderson Circuit Court, appointed by law 
to be held in those months, shall be extended to two weeks, if the busi- 
ness thereof shall be required." 


By an act, approved May 23, the State was divided into twelve 
Congressional Districts, and Henderson then became a part of the 


Eleventh District, composed of Henderson, Muhlenburg, Butler, 
Ohio, Grayson, Breckenridge, Daviess, Hart and Hardin. 

Under an act passed January 1, the County Courts of Henderson 
County were directed to be held on the fourth Monday in every month, 
in which no Circuit Court was held. 

An act, passed December, " Be it further enacted^ That the County 
of Henderson shall be entitled to sixteen Justices of the Peace, and 
no more, two of whom shall reside in the town, and one north of 
Green River." 


In the summer of this year, an aggravated bilious fever, visited 
most, if not all of the river towns of Kentucky, and while it was not so 
distressing at this point as at others, it was yet frightful. So terrible 
was this disease in form and character, it gained and deserved the 
name of yellow fever. The mortality was very great, and the alarm 
existing on account of it, throughout the whole interior of the neigh- 
boring States, was of the most exciting character. It has been said 
by graphic writers, that during the months of July, August, and Sep- 
tember, so strongly were the inhabitants of this and other towns pre" 
disposed to this disease, by joint influence of climate, and the miasm 
of marshes, ponds, and decayed and decaying vegetable matter, that 
they may be compared to piles of combustibles, which needed bu^ 
the application of a single spark to rouse them to a flame. 

This frightful malady, was the most terrible blow ever given the 
place, and for many years afterwards, the name of Henderson was 
synonemous with that of "Grave Yard." Emigrants dreaded to pass 
through the place, and of those who had determined to locate herej 
many were dissuaded from their purpose, by the assertion that it was 
rushing upon death to make the attempt. This occurred, too, just at 
a period when the resources of the town, beginning to develope them- 
selves, were attracting the attention of capitalists. Had the feeling 
of alarm ceased with the disease, it would have been less of a blow> 
but for years after, it was referred to as a warning against emmigra' 
tion hither. 

This year, the County Court had new bridges built over Canoe 
Creek, at the Madisonville and Morganfield crossings. 


Several new bridges were built this year, and the county levy was 
reduced from one dollar and twenty-five cents, to sixty-two and a half 


cents. Outside of this, nothing of a public nature worthy of notice 
appears on the records. 

J 824. 

The Commissioners returned forty-eight more tithables this year 
than Last. This was the year of the Walton murder. This murder 
of Walton was one of the most heartless, cold-bloo*ded and incarnate 
specimens of human depravity to be found in the records of any 
county. It has never really been surpassed in savage lands. 


The militia was now in its glory, and all able-bodied men were 
required to turn out to company, batallion and regimental muster. 
It was a great bore to all but a few ambitious officers and privates. 
Thomas K. Newman, and John Newman, as field officers of the forty- 
first regiment, settled with the paymaster January 31, and then a great 
jollification was had. 

An act, approved January 3, changed again the time of holding 
the Circuit Courts. Under this act, the courts were held on the third 
Monday in March, June, and September, and were directed to sit 
twelve juridical days, and where there were five Mondays in the 
month, to sit eighteen days, if the business of the court required it. 


The Commissioners of tax reported this year sixteen hundred 
^^nd twenty-fou: tithables, and the court levied eighty seven and one 
half cents, making a total of fourteen hundred and twenty-one dollars. 
It was reported to the court, that the jail was uncomfortably cold, and 
out of the abundance of fellow-feeling, James Rouse jailer, was 
directed to furnish criminals coal, during the day time, and blankets 
at night. 


It may be asked where coal was brought from so early as 1826 ; 
there were no mines at that time. In the early times there 
were many places on the Ohio River where coal cropped out 
of the surface of the bank, or decline, between the bluff bank and the 
water'.« ?.dge. Notably among those locations was the mouth of Sugar 
Creek, above the water-works. At this point coal was taken out with- 
out mining or blasting, dumped into boats, and floated down to the 
town. This mine furnished the town of Henderson up to 1850 with 
most of the coal used. Dr. Thomas J. Johnson, even between 1850 
and 1860, dug coal at Sugar Creek and boated it down to the town, 

reserving a year's supply to himself, and selling the remainder at a 


price about equal to the expense of getting out the whole amount. 
There were wealthy men in those days as there is now — for instance, 
Leonard H. Lyne, assessed this year sixty-eight slaves, four hundred 
and fifty-one acres of farming land, and twenty-eight horses. 

Congress had passed a law appropriating a certain amount to be 
paid to surviving soldiers of the Revolutionary War. The County 
Court of Henderson County received a number of declarations of 
pensions, and ordered them to be certified to the Secretary of War. 
The following are of record : Wynn Dixon (father of Governor 
Archibald Dixon), John Martin, William Brown, Thomas Baker, Joel 
Gibson, William Frazier, Furna Cannon, Peter L. Matthews, John 
Ramsey, Isham Sellars, General Thomas Posey, Dr. Joseph Savage, 
Gabriel Green, and Nathaniel Powell. Fourteen of the old patriots, 
who fought that America might be free, lived their latter days in 
this county, and were buried beneath its sod. The gallows, upon 
which was hung the lifeless body of Calvin Sugg, cost the county the 
great sum of ten dollars. It was built by James Rouse, and the 
court, thinking perhaps that it might be needed again, passed in sub- 
stance the following order. ''James Rouse being regarded as a 
fit person, it is ordered that he be appointed to take care of the 

The County Court deemed it necessary to revise the tavern rates 
heretofore established, and the following is a copy : 


Dinner, supper and breakfast, each 25 cts 

Lodging 12% cts 

Horse per night 50 cts 

Horse per feed 12>^ cts 

Foreign spirits, y^ pint 6Ji cts 

All to be paid in specie. 

Foreign liquor was just eight times the price of domestic. 


The Commissioners of Tax reported for this year fifteen hundred 
and sixty-four tithables — sixty less than last year — and laid the levy 
at 75 cents — 12^ cents less than last year. The effect of the panic 
and hard times had not worn away. Many men had fled the State, 
taking with them their slaves to avoid the levy of executions for debt. 
It is a fact that many slave-holders left the State with their slave 
property for this very purpose, and afterwards, by permission of the 
County Court, returned again. This, perhaps, may explain the dis- 
crepancy so noticeable during the years of hard times, as they were 
known. Political excitement in Kentucky ran high during this year. 


Under the law, passed February 23, 1808, free negroes and mulattos 
were prevented from migrating to Kentucky, unless allowed to do so 
by a special act. During this y^-ar a number of free negroes came to 
the State, and by special act were freed and exempted from the pains 
and penalties of the law of 1808. Frank Hogg, one among the first, 
if not the first, was granted the right to remain in the Commonwealth, 
and authorized to hold real estate. From this beginning quite a col- 
ony of free negroes migrated to the county, and so far as is known, 
were orderly, well behaved and industrious people. 

The Commissioners of Tax reported this year seventeen hundred 
and thirty tithables, and the levy was fixed at one dollar twelve and 
a half cents, making a total of nineteen hundred and forty-six dollars 
and twenty four ( ents. It will be observed that the number of tith- 
ables reported this year is one hundred and sixty-six greater than 
last year, and the tax increased thirty-seven and a half cents. 

The tithable population reported this year was seventeen hundred 
— thirty less than last year - and the levy fixed at 68^ cents —forty- 
four cents less than last year. 



>^HE census for 1830 gave Henderson County a population of six 
^y thousand six hundred and fifty-nine souls, an increase of nine 
hundred and forty-five during the preceding ten years. Seventeen 
hundred and eighty-seven tithables were reported this year, and the 
levy fixed at what it was in 1828, one dollar twelve and a half cents. 


For some years prior to 1830, the milk sickness had made its ap- 
pearance in Kentucky, but, during this year, it was unusually annoy- 
ing and frightful in Henderson County. Particularly along the banks 
of Green River, it did its work undiscovered. Scientists endeavored 
to discover the true cause of the disease, but all their efforts failed. 
January 29, the Legislature of Kentucky offered a reward of six hun- 
dred dollars for the discovery of the cause, and a specific cure, yet 
no discovery was ever made. It was only with the clearing up of the 
woods and timbered lands, that the dread disease disappeared. There 
has been no cases of milk sickness reported in Henderson County for 
many years. 

On the twenty-ninth day of January, an act was approved, incor- 
porating a company under the name and style of the '* Green River 
Navigation Company," for the purpose of constructing locks, dams, 
docks, basins, canals, chutes and slopes upon Green River and its 
tributary streams. The capital stock of the company was fixed at 


sixty thousand dollars, divided into shares of twenty-five dollars each. 
Books for the subscription of stock were directed to be opened on the 
fourth day of March, and Leonard H. Lyne and James McLain ap- 
pointed commissioners for Henderson County. The scheme proved 
an utter failure. 

Under and by authority of an act of the Legislature, approved 
January 29, Henderson County was divided and laid off into public 
school districts. 


The Commissioners of Tax reported this year, nineteen hundred 
and sixty-nine tithables, and the county levy was fixed at sixty-two 
and a half cents, making a total of one thousand two hundred and 
thirty dollars and sixty-two and a half cents. From this, it will be 
seen that the tithable increase from the Court of Claims in October, 
1830, to the Court of Claims, 1831, was one hundred and eighty-two, 
the greatest increase for any one year known up to that time. 

The population in what is now known as the Point, or Scuffle- 
town District, had so increased, that on the twenty-first day of Decem- 
ber, an act of the Legislature was approve'd, establishing it as an 
election precinct, and fixing the voting place at the house of Doak 


Nineteen hundred and sixty-nine tithables were reported this 
year, and the levy fixed at seventy-five cents. The county had now 
begun to grow rapidly, and everything assumed a more cheerful as- 
pect, but during the year the cholera brought grief and gloom, and 
business stagnation in Henderson, as well as many other points in the 
Ohio River Valley. 

This epidemic visitation occurred in the month of October, and 
absolutely paralyzed the whole comniunity. Business was suspended, 
and the panic complete. Men were seized with the disease while 
walking in the streets, and were dead in ten hours. The population 
of Henderson at that time was about seven hundred, and fully ten 
per cent, of that number died. The physicians stood manfully at 
their posts, and administered calomel and opium without limit. The 
practitioners at that time were Drs. Levi Jones, Thomas J. Johnson, 
Owen Glass, Henry M. Grant and Horace Gaither. Among those 
who died, were : Rev. Nathan Osgood, Rector St. Pauls Episcopal 
Church, and J. B. Pollitt, husband of the first wife of Governor Dixon. 
Mr, Bqtler, father of Harbison Butler, came into the town one day, 


transacted his business and returned to his home in the country, and 
before twelve o'clock that night, died of cholera. The negroes suf 
ferred more, perhaps, than the v^hites. 

Henderson, at that time, was a victim of " ponds," those frightful 
generators of misasma, being located all over the place. At the 
corner of First and Elm Streets, was one covering as much as one 
acre of ground. In the center of the intersection of Main and 
Second Streets, was the public well, and this furnished impure water 
for the greater part of the citizens. Those who drank water from the 
river bank, escaped the cholera, while those who drank of the well, 
were to a great extent victims of the disease. 

This was also the year of the great flood, when the river rose at 
Cincinnati to the almost incredible height of sixty-two and a half feet 
above low water mark. 


The youthful city did not feel the visitation of the flood, but the 
river bottoms suffered immensely. This great rise commenced on the 
tenth day of February, and continued until the twenty-first of that 
month, having risen to the extraordinary height fifty-one feet above 
low water mark at Louisville. Nearly all of the frame and log build- 
ings near the river, either floated off or turned over and were de- 
stroyed. The marks made by the Government engineers, for that 
purpose, at the head of the Canal and foot of the Falls, at Louisville, 
showed a maximum height at the head, of forty-six feet above low 
water, and sixty-nine feet above low water at the foot of the Falls. 
This was by far the greatest rise ever known in the Ohio at that time. 


As an evidence of the progress of the age, it may be noted that 
during this year upon a circular track, in George Atkinson's Factory, 
formerly Audubon's Mill, was exhibited a small locomotive made sev- 
eral years before at Lexington, by Mr. Thomas H. Barlow. To this 
locomotive was attached a small car, in which many people took their 
first railroad ride. This miniature engine ran smoothly, and was a great 
curiositv. A small amount was charged for riding, which the i)eop1e 
paid most cheerfully. This was the first railroad or railroad engine 
and car ever seen by but very few, if any, of the citizens of Henderson. 


Twenty-one hundred and fifty-two tithables were reported this 
year, one hundred and eighty-three more than last year, and the levy 
fixed at 81 ^ cents. The cholera returned to Kentucky this year, 


and raged from about May 30 to August, only two months, but with 
great virulence and deadly effect. Beginning as high up as Maysville, 
it soon spread through the State, slaying large numbers in town and 
country. Within nine days after its appearance at Lexington, fifteen 
hundred persons were prostrated by it, and fifty deaths occurred in 
some single days. Many places, altogether spared in 1832, were des- 
olated this year. In Henderson there were but few cases This was 
the year also of 


It was about two o'clock in the morning when the stars began to 
shoot, and before daylight such an incessant cross-firing of heavenly 
bodies had not only never been seen, but had never beea heard of. The 
heavens presented a most gorgeous picture, and yet many of the 
superstitious believed it to be the beginning of the end, and that soon 
the trump of Gabriel's horn would announce the coming of " The New 
Jerusalem." Everybody was up to see it, and closely they scanned 
the"firmament until the grand display was shut out by the light of day. 

January 25 an act was approved establishing a precinct in that 
part of the county known as the " Big Bend " of the Ohio (now known 
as Walnut Bend), to be called and known as *' Big Bend " Precinct, and 
the elections to be held at the residence of William B. Cannon. 

On the second of February the State was divided into thirteen 
Congressional districts, elections to be held on the first Monday in 
August. Henderson County, with Christian, Hopkins, Muhlenberg, 
Butler, Ohio, Daviess and Hancock, formed the Second District. A 
levy of $500 was made for the purpose of building a poor house, but 
the project was abandoned, and, in 1836, this amount was placed to the 
order of the Board of Internal Improvements, to be applied with the 
additional sum of $1,000, appropriated by the Legislature at their ses- 
sion of 1835-36, for the improvement of the roads of the county. 


Two thousand one hundred and fifteen tithables were reported 
this year, and the levy fixed at seventy-five cents. By an act of the 
Legislature the county was divided into five precincts, one at Hender- 
son, one at Galloways, now Hebardsville, one at Sellers, now Cairo, 
and Robard's Station, one at Prewitts, now Scufileton in the point, and 
one at Wm. B. Cannon's, now Walnut Bottom. 


Two thousand two hundred and sixty-eight tithables were re- 
ported this year, and the levy fixed at fifty cents. 


Owing to its terrible surroundings, Henderson was yet as un- 
healthy as a place well could be, and as an evidence of it, the follow- 
ing incident related to the write^by Dr. H. H. Farmer, is here inserted : 

" When a boy i" 1835. I was going to Virginia in company with my uncle 
and grandmother. We were traveling in a carriage, and when near Crab 
Orchard Springs I was taken suddenlv ill; my uncle wished to stop at some 
house on the road, but the people learning we were from Henderson, refused 
to take us m, fearing some dreadful contageous disease. The very name of 
Henderson seemed to inspire the mountaineers with terror. My disease was 
slight, however, aud we suffered no serions inconvenience." 

Henderson in early times suffered more from malarial disease 
than for many years past. The disease at that time was more severe, 
but the great cause of its fatality was ignorance on the part of the 
physicians of its proper treatment. 


Two thousand two hundred and sixty-five tithables were reported 
this year, and the levy fixed at fifty cents. On the twenty-ninth day 
of February the State was apportioned into thirty-eight Senatorial 
Districts, Henderson, with Hopkins and Daviess forming the Fifth 
District. December 23 the election district formerly known as Sel- 
lars, was changed to William Buttons. 


Two thousand two hundred and eighty-nine tithables were re- 
ported this year, and the levy fixed at seventy-five cents. February 
8 an act was approved incorporating the Henderson & Nashville 
Railroad. The capital stock fixed at fifteen thousand shares, and 
Wyatt H. Ingram, George Atkinson, James Rouse, John D. Ander- 
son, George Gayle, and James Alves were appointed Commissioners 
to open books for the subscription of stock. 

February 27 the town of Steamport, on Green River, was in- 
corporated upon the plan formed and laid down by Isaac Harman. 
The Trustees appointed in the act were Isaac Harman, Owen Thomas, 
John McElroy, James M. Edwards, and James Thomas. 


. On February 23 an act was approved creating a company for 
the purpose of building a ''dirt turnpike on the Virginia plan,'' from 
Henderson to Hopkinsville. Wyatt H. Ingram, George Atkinson, 
Smith Agnew, and John McMullin were appointed Commissioners 
for the purpose of carrying out the object of the act. The Commis- 
sioners were authorized to locate toll-gates, but no two gates were to 


be nearer together than ten miles. At the next meeting of the Legis- 
lature the time for opening stock books was extended twelve months, 
and finally the plan was abandoned entirely. 


On the nineteenth day of April a financial cricis came. The banks 
all over the State suspended specie payment, and closed their doors. 
The full force of this blow was sadly felt, confidence fled, and every- 
thing before so radiant with the springtime of hope and promise, was 
changed to the sad autumn lines of a fruitless year. Petitions were 
sent to the Governor to convene the Legislature in extra session, but 
this he declined to do ; but, when that body met in regular session, it 
legalized the suspension of the banks in the State, and refused either 
to compel them to resume specie payment, or to forfeit their charters. 
The people of Henderson County suffered, as did the people all over 
the State. Times were extremely pinching, and not for twelve months 
was any relief experienced, and that when the banks ventured to re- 
sume specie payments. 


It was in the low water of 1837 that the tow-head above the city 
first made any pretentions to being an island. Prior to that time there 
had been no island there, and since that time it has become the respect- 
able body of land it now is. 

This year, William Wurnell, the notorious murderer of Abner 
Jones, was captured and confined in the county jail. 


Two thousand three hundred and seventy-seven tithables were 
reported this year, and the levy fixed at one dollar and twenty five 
cents. A glance at this will show, that, in spite of the commercial dif- 
ficulties of the previous year, the population increased. During this 
year the county was re-districted, additional school districts being estab- 


Two thousand four hundred and ninety tithables were reported 
this year, and the levy fixed at one dollar twelve and a half cents. 

The first iron steamer on a western river or lake, the "Valley 
Forge," passed Henderson in the month of December. 

October 16, all of the Kentucky banks again suspended specie 

This was a great year for old, young and middle-aged people, for 
the greatest of sights, a circus with an elephant, a trick-mule, and a 
pony, came to town during the summer. Stickney's Great Circus, 
with Lou. Lippman and Frank Wilmot, and Ricards, the clown, ex- 
hibited in the Public Square, and every man, woman and child, who 
could squeeze inside the tent, was there to witness the show. 


CLOSED, ETC., ETC. — 1840. 

SHE official returns for 1840, place the population of Henderson 
County at nine thousand five hundred and forty-eight, an in- 
crease, since the census of 1830, of two thousand eight hundred and 
eighty-nine souls. Of this number, six thousand one hundred and 
eighty-one were whites, three thousand three hundred and nineteen 
were slaves, and forty-eight were free blacks. 

Two thousand five hundred and ninety-five tithables were reported, 
and the levy fixed at one dollar and fifty cents. 

During the year 1825, Elizabeth D. Gwatkin, grandmother of 
Adam and Gwatkin Rankin, died. By her will, thirty-eight negroes 
became the property of Horatio D. Gwatkin, for the term of fifteen 
years, and at the expiration of that time, they were to be given their 
freedom according to law. At the June term of the County Court 
this year, the thirty-eight slaves were brought into court, their names 
entered of record, and they given their freedom. A poor old man, 
who had fought throughout the War for American Independence, be- 
came a pauper upon the county. John Ramsay and wife were allowed 
the round sum of fifty dollars for his annual support. 

In January the voting place, then known as William Sellar's, was 
changed to Wesley Norman's. 

February 17, a town called " LaFayette," was incorporated and 


established upon the plan of Geo. W. King, proprietor. The trustees 
of this town were Geo. W. King, Payne Dixon, William P. Grayson, 
William Y. Nelson and Harbison Butler. The site of " LaFayette " 
was on the Ohio River above Evansville. This was the year of the 


Forever memorable in the history of American politics. The hero of 
" Tippecanoe and Tyler Too," received a handsome majority in Hen- 
derson County, for President of the United States. During the sum- 
mer an immense barbecue was given in a grove which was located on 
the river above Powell Street, and in front of the gas works. This 
was a beautiful grove, and was a great trysting place for lovers and 
those sentimentally inclined. " Lovers' Grove," as it was called, suc- 
cumbed to the lashing waves of the Ohio many years ago. There is 
not a vestige of it to be seen at this day. The Harrison barbecue 
was largely attended, and many eminent speakers addressed the mul- 
titude that day. The ladies were largely interested, and wore white 
aprons with log cabins painted' and printed upon them. The long 
tables were decorated with imitation log cabins built of stick candy. 
This was a gala day in Henderson. 


Two thousand six hundred and thirty-one tithables were reported 
this year, and the county levy fixed at one dollar and fifty cents. 

It will be remembered, that in 1837, an act was passed by the 
Legislature, incorporating the " Henderson & Hopkinsville Dirt Turn- 
pike Company, on the Virginia plan," and appointing commissioners 
to open stock books. What the Commissioners did is not known, but 
it is safe to say nothing was done, for, on the twenty-sixth day of Jan- 
uary, of this year, Lazarus W. Powell and William Sugg, of Hender- 
son, and John Ruby and William Bradley, of Hopkins, were ap" 
pointed commissioners to view and mark out a road to Hopkinsville, 
to be built as other roads were at that time. This the Commissioners 
did, and from that time to this, there has been an established road 
between the two places. 


In the spring of this year, William R. Abbott, who had displayed 
considerable newspaper talent, asked, and was granted the right to 
build a frame printing office on the Public Square in front of, and to 
the right of the Court House, and immediately across First Street 
from James McLaughlin's grocery. In this building Mr. Abbott pub- 
lished the " Columbian," a file of which would this day command a 


handsome sum of money. It was during the days of the " Columbian " 
that the inimitable '' Abinadab " letters made their appearance. They 
were written in biblical style, and for caustic wit, have never been sur- 
passed. Each issue of the paper was as anxiously anticipated as 
though it was known to contain the only reliable information from the 
seat of some great battle, in which each inhabitant was personally and 
deeply interested. " Abinadab " was never known, yet he knew every 
man in the town, and would select six or more each week, to whom he 
would address himself in most graceful, but cutting English, to the 
intense delight of every inhabitant. His pen-pictures of men were 
so perfect, a mistake in placing the victim was impossible. " Abina- 
dab " was the delight, as well as the terror of the town. 

A few years afterwards, Mr. Abbott departed this life, and in dis- 
posing of his effects. Rev. John McCullagh became the purchaser of 
the printing office, and had it, removed to his lot, where now stands 
Miss McCullagh's Female Academy. The building was then used as 
a school house up to about the year 1850, when Mr. McCullagh gave 
up teaching. This old literary and educational establishment was 
permitted to remain until a few years ago, when it was torn down. 

Two thousand seven hundred and fifty tithables were reported 
this year, and one dollar thirty-seven and a half cents fixed as the levy. 
A toting place was established at Steamport. Joshua Mullin and his 


of "ginger cake " notoriety, had come to Henderson and opened a 
small confectionary and eating house on Mill Street (now Second), 
in a little frame building, which sat above the street near where M. 
Laucheim's Grocery now stands. They had taken out what is called 
a tavern license, or more correctly speaking, a liquor license. During 
the early part of the year, Mr. Mullin applied to the County Court, 
then in session, for a renewal of his license, but was refused, as the 
following amusing order entered of record will show. 

" This day Jo&hua Mullin came in and moved the court to renew his 
tavern license, there being ten Justices on the bench, a majority of all those in 
Commission, and mature deliberation being thereupon had, the vote was taken 
upon said motion, and the result was as follows: Yeas 2, Nays 8, and there- 
upon the said Mullen silently withdrew from the presence of the court, and 
with a countenance bitter with anguish and deep indignation, he rushed from 
the Hall of Justice." 



In the early part of this year, Charles Dickens, the renowned 
novelist, then best known as " Boz," and quite a young man, was a 
passenger on the steamboat *' Fulton," en route from Louisville to St. 
Louis. The steamer was detained here, takmg freight, and during a 
great part of the time Mr. Dickens amused himself walking around 
the town, and viewing the sights, of which there were none more im- 
portant than the town pump, which stood in the intersection of Main 
and Second Streets. 


Three thousand and forty-six tithables were reported this year, 
and the county levy fixed at one dollar and twenty-five cents ; of this 
number fourteen hundred and seventy-three were whites, and fifteen 
hundred and seventy-three were blacks. The locks and dam on Green 
River, at Spottsville, were completed this year, and a toll-gate es- 

May 9, an act of the Legislature was approved, re-apportioning 
the State into Congressional districts. Henderson, with Christian, 
Muhlenburg, Daviess, Ohio, Butler, Hancock, Breckenridge, Grayson, 
Edmondson, and Mead, became the Tenth District. Several shocks 
of earthquake were felt this year. 


Three thousand and seventy-three tithables were reported this 
year, and the county levy fixed at seventy-five cents. Of this number 
fourteen hundred and forty-nine were whites, and sixteen hundred and 
twenty-four were blacks. Tobacco inspection warehouses were still 
in vogue, but doing a comparatively small business to what was done 
many years prior to that time. 


Three thousand one hundred and ninety-seven tithables were re- 
ported this year, and the county levy fixed at fifty-five cents. Of 
this number fifteen hundred and eighteen were whites, and sixteen 
hundred and seventy-nine were blacks. On the tenth day of Febru- 
ary the voting place was changed from Zachariah Galloway's to the 
house of Geo. M. Priest, in the village of Hebardsville. 


In 1843 began, and in 1844-45 was steadily developing the sys- 
tematic enticing away, or stealing of slaves from Kentucky, and run- 
ning them off to Canada by a cordon of posts, or relays, which came 


to be known as the underground railroad. Few were stolen at first, 
and occasionally cases of recapture on Ohio soil, and restoration to 
owners occurred. In several ^ases, Ohio juries, under the just laws 
enacted to meet the exigencies, gave judgment for damages, to the 
reasonable value of the slaves rescued, but in no cases were the judg- 
ments paid. This semblance of justice continued to grow lax, and 
men, who, at first, were willing to see stolen, or runaway slaves, re- 
stored, soon became indifferent, and in a few years, themselves en- 
couraged this growing interference with the property rights of the 
people of Kentucky. 

On the sixth day of December the Ohio River was closed by ice, 
for the first time in ten years, so early as this. It remained closed 
but four days, breaking up on the tenth. 

Three thousand three hundred and thirty-six tithables were re- 
ported this year, and the county levy fixed at ninety cents. Of this 
number, fifteen hundred and forty-eight were whites, and seventeen 
hundred and eighty-eight blacks. 

An order was passed in the spring, granting to the Trustees of 
the town of Henderson a ferry license, from the town to the Indiana 
shore, and James Rouse appointed keeper. February 19, by an act 
of the Legislature, Henderson, with Christian, Hopkins, and Union, 
were constituted into the Seventh Judicial District. During the ses- 
sion of the Legislature a joke was played upon Samuel Allison, the 
noted humorist, the greatest of all jokers. A bill, changing his name 
from that of Allison, to that of Samuel Allison Jones, was quietly 
slipped through both houses, without his knowledge or consent. 


The struggle with Mexico had now been initiated, and Kentucky 
had been called upon for her quota of volunteers. However, parties 
differed as to its justice or policy. The call so struck the popular 
chord as to enlist thirteen thousand seven hundred volunteers, while 
the call was for, and only less than five thousand could be accepted. 
Henderson County responded promptly, but only a few of her volun- 
teers were accepted. 

Major Philip Barbour, one of the most distinguished officers of 
the war, and who was killed while leading his men, at the storming of 
the breastworks of the City of Monterey, was from this county. This 
is the year the renowned wag, " Bill Pew," was arrested and confined 
in the county jail, charged, with others, with the murder of George 
Robards, on Green River. 




Three thousand four hundred and forty-four tithables were re- 
ported this year, and the county levy fixed at ninety cents. Of this 
number fifteen hundred and sixty-one were whites, and eighteen hun- 
dred and eighty-three were blacks. An act was approved January 12, 
submitting the question of calling a convention, to revise and amend 
the second Constitution of Kentucky, which was adopted August 17, 
1799. At the August election this act was defeated, in Henderson, 
but adopted by a large majority in the State. 

Another great flood occurred in the Ohio during the month of 
February, and reached a point within nine inches of the line reached 
in 1832. The chief reason for .this great rise, and almost unprece- 
dented freshet, was the great rain-fall, the heaviest ever known in Ken- 
tucky in so short a time. On the nights of the ninth and tenth of 
December, the smaller Kentucky streams arose with wonderful and 

alarming rapidity. 


Three thousand four hundred and sixty-eight tithables were re- 
ported this year, and the county levy fixed at ninety cents. Of this 
number, fifteen hundred and forty-one were whites, nineteen hundred 
and twenty-one were blacks. It will be observed that for several years 
the black tithables had gained in number over the whites. On the 
twenty-ninth day of February the Legislature re-appointed the Sena 
torial Districts, constituting Henderson and Daviess the Fifth, On 
the same day an act was approved, changing the voting place from 
David Sights' to William Sutton's, 

The discovery of gold in California caused a vast and unparal- 
leled emigration to the shores of the Pacific, from every quarter of 
the globe, and Henderson was not behind in sending her quota; quite 
a company, mounted upon mules, left overland from this place, and, 
after many trials, succeeded in reaching the Golden Gate. Among the 
number, were Jas. E. Ricketts, David Hart, David Herndon, Moses 
Foard, James Lyne and David Lockett. In August the question of call- 
ing a convention to revise and amend the constitution of the State, 
was again submitted, and carried in the State by an overwhelming 
majority. Gov. Archibald Dixon was elected a delegate from this 
county, and was decidedly one of the most active, energetic and intel- 
ligent members of that great body. 


Three thousand five hundred and twenty-five tithables were re- 
ported this year, and the county levy fixed at one dollar. Of this 


number, fifteen hundred and fifty were whites, and nineteen hundred 
and seventy-five were blacks. 

Owing to the increase of^* population in the lower end of the 
county, an election precinct was established at the residence of Col. 
Robert Smith, near the Point, or what is now known as Smith's Mills* 

Walter C. Brown entered into contract with the county to build 
a bridge over Canoe Creek, at the crossing leading to Morganfield, at 
and for the price of nineteen hundred dollars. The bridge was built, 
but a very short time after was discovered to be unsafe. The court 
appointed B. Brashear, A. OUiver, and Wyatt H. Ingram, commis- 
sioners, to investigate the structure, and after doing so, they reported 
it unsafe, and incapable of reconstruction, in its condition. There- 
upon the county appointed James M. Taylor, William Jones, Addison 
Posey, and E. F. Randolph, commissioners to build another, and di- 
reicted suit to be entered against Brown and his securities. After 
several trials, and much trouble, the suit was compromised, by the 
county loosing heavily, as is generally the case. 





y^HREE thousand six hundred and twenty-six tithables were re- 
^^ ported this year, and the county levy fixed at one dollar and 
fifty cents. Of this number sixteen hundred and thirty-four were 
whites, and nineteen hundred and ninety-two were blacks. 

The Convention to revise the Constitution of the State had com- 
pleted its work, having been in session from the first day of October 
to December 21, 1849. 

In March, an act was approved, submitting the question of chang- 
ing the constitution to the people for their adoption or rejection. 
May 7, 1850, the new Constitution was adopted by a large popular 
majority, and on June 3, the convention again assembled and adopted 
several amendments, and June 11, adjourned after proclaiming the 
present or third constitution. 

The great underlying cause of dissatisfaction with the second con- 
stitution, was the life term of judges, and clerks of courts, justices of 
the peace, and some other offices, which led to the radical change of 
making nearly all offices eligible directly by the people. After thirty- 
three years of experience, it is still an open question with many 
whether the change in this regard has subserved the public interest 
or the cause of justice, or improved the public morals. Henderson 


County opposed the change. A majority of the most interested busi- 
ness and most intellio^ent of her citizens voted against the change. 

The official count for this year gave Henderson County a popu- 
lation of twelve thousand one hundred and seventy-one souls, an in- 
crease of two thousand five hundred and twenty-three since the cen- 
sus of 1840. Of this number seven thousand six hundred and fifty- 
one were whites, four thousand three hundred and ninety-seven were 
blacks, and one hundred twenty-three free colored. 

The cholera appeared again this year, but was by no means so 
severe as in previous years. 

The earthquake was an unwelcome visitor again. It came with a 
single sharp shock, at five minutes past eight o'clock on the evening 
of April 4. No damage, worse than fright, was done. 

February 9, the provisions of the Mechanics' Lien Law were 
made to apply to Henderson, as well as other cities and towns in the 


During the summer and fall of the year, the first suspension and 
covered bridges were built by Samuel Caruthers. The bridge over Ca- 
noe Creek, at the Madisonville crossing, was built at a cost of one thou- 
sand nine hundred and ninety-two dollars, while the abutments and ap- 
proaches cost five hundred and forty-nine dollars. The bridge over 
Canoe Creek, at the Morganfield crossing, cost, all told, three thou- 
sand nine hundred and fifty dollars. Prior to 1850, the bridges at the 
main public crossings, had been a continual expense to the county, 
and no bridges had been built to last longer than five or six years. 
Very little money has been expended on the bridges built by Mr. 
Caruthers, and they are in the most excellent condition to this day. 


Three thousand seven hundred and ninety-two tithables were ro- 
ported this year, and the county levy fixed at one dollar and fifty 
cents. Of this number, sixteen hundred and eighty-three were whites, 
and two thousand one hundred and nine were blacks. The new con- 
stitution was now in full force, and also the laws, as far as written. 
The acts of the Legislature had been revised and amended to con- 
form to that document. 


At the January term of the County Court, the old Magistrates 
and other officers retired, and at a special session for the purpose of 
qualifying all officers elected, under the new constitution and laws, 


William Rankin, County Judge ; William i). Allison, County and Cir- 
cuit Clerk; J. M. Stone, Sheriff; James Rouse, Coroner; D. N. Wal- 
den, Surveyor; Thomas J. Lockett, Assessor, and L. W. Brown, Jailer, 
took the oaths required and were qualified. There were six districts 
in the county, and elections for magistrates and constables having 
been held, the following appeared and were qualified: 

Magistrates. — Robert Dixon, John T. Moore, James H. King, 
James Thomas, Joel E. Gibson, Russell K. Thornberry, Ben. Tal- 
bott, John F. Grider, William E. Bennett, Isom Johnson, H. L. Chea. 
ney, William S. Hicks, L. Weaver and Isaac M. Freels— two justices 
to each district, 

Constables. — District No. 1, B. F. Martin ; No. 2, Harbert A. 
Powell ; No, 3, George A. Long; No. 4, Achilles H. Norment ; No. ' 
5, Hansford E. Rouse ; No. 6, Joseph Priest. A few weeks after 
Mr. Priest resigned, and Edward T. Hazelwood was appointed in his 

Election districts and voting places were established as follows : 
District No. 1, Gibson's ; No. 2, Corydon ; No. 3, Randolph Ors- 
burn's ; No. 4, Achilles Norment's ; No. 5, Henderson ; No. 6, Ed. 

D. Bennett's. 

Under the old constitution the Magistrates received no pay. Un- 
der the new, they were allowed two dollars per day, and since 1850, 
the pay has been increased to three dollars per day for every day they 
are called to meet. 


The spring of 1851 was the coldest and most severe known since 
1834. On the first day of May, there was a heavy black frost, destroy- 
ing all kinds of fruit and many tender trees. Fires and overcoats 
were indispensible, while the thermometer registered 20° above zero. 


In this year the Democratic party, for the first time in many 
years, succeeded in electing their candidate for Governor. This 
gentleman was a distinguished son of Henderson County, Lazarus W. 
Powell. The defeated Whig candidate was also a distinguished resident 
of Henderson, Archibald Dixon. The excitement in the county was in- 
tense, of course, but no matter which of the two, the county felt itself 
honored in his election. 

March, 1851, the voting place in District No. 6, was changed from 

E. D. Bennett's to Hebardsville. . An act was approved, dividing the 


State into four Appellate Districts, for election of judges of the Court 

of Appeals. Henderson, with Fulton, Hickman, Ballard, Mc- 

Cracken, Graves, Calloway, Marshall, Livingston, Crittenden, Union, 

Hopkins, Caldwell, Trigg, Todd, Logan, Simpson, Warren, Allen, 

Christi.4n Muhlenburg, Daviess, Ohio, Butler, Edmondson, Hancock, 

Grayson and Breckenridge, became the Fourth District. An act was 

approved, creating twelve Judicial Circuits, and Henderson, with 

Caldwell, Trigg, Christian, Todd, Hopkins and Union, became the 

Second District. 


Three thousand eight hundred an twelve tithables were reported 
this year, and one dollar and fifty cents fixed as the county levy. Of 
this number, sixteen hundred and eighty-four were whites, and twen- 
ty-one hundred and twenty-eight were blacks. 

A COLD winter. 

The winter of 1851-52 was a severe cold one. On the night of 
January 19, the he viest snow known for years covered the earth. 
The Ohio River closed that night, for the second time during the sea- 
son, the first instance of the kind within civilized memory. The ther- 
mometer was below zero all day, and at midnight was reported at 30 
degrees below. 


the great Hungarian patriot, and his party, passed down the Ohio 

this year, and hundreds of people of all ages visited the river to get 

a glimpse of him. 

unceremonious baptizing. 

On a Sunday afternoon, during the spring of this year. Old Willis 
Walker, as he was called, a noted colored Baptist divine, held a bap- 
tizing at the foot of First Street. The bank, for some distance from 
the lilufT, inclined but little, in fact, seemed almost on a level with the 
water. On this sandy plane was congregated a vast concourse of peo- 
ple, anxious to witness the ordinance performed. While the multitude 
gathered at the water's edge, and were engaged in singing, the great 
steamboat, " Eclipse," came up the river, running, perhaps, not ex- 
ceeding two hundred feet from the shore, and as she passed by, the 
water was drawn from its rightful line at least ten feet. To this great 
power of the wonderful steamer, the excited, singing multitide ap- 
peared oblivious, but followed the water-line, when as quick as thought, 
the water returned with a great swell, and quicker than thought, an 
hundred or more were freely baptized up to and above their knees. 
From this unceremonious ducking, and ruining of their starched Sun- 


day clothes, it is unnecessary to say the unfortunate, and those more 
fortunate, scampered as fast as their pedal extremities would permit. 

During 1852 the Owensbojo Road crossed Canoe Creek, about 
one hundred yards on a direct line below where the present bridge is 
located, and ran from thence over the ground where the railroad round- 
house is situated, thence in the rear of Tames P. Breckenridge's resi- 
dence, and thence to Center Street, on the ground now occupied by 
the residences of L. F. Clore and Thomas Gilligan. 

At that time Center Street was not opened beyond Adams Street, 
but all that territory, now so handsomely improved, was a woodland, 
owned by James Alves, and inclosed by a running plank fence. At 
Adams Street was a gate, which opened to a roadway leading to his 
residence on the hill, now owned and occupied by Hon. Jno. Young 
Brown and Major John J. Reeve. Upon petition of Mr. Alves, and 
others, an order was passed by the County Court changing this road 
to the road coming in Third Street, and then the old road was closed 
up. In 1852 Samuel Caruthers built the present covered bridge over 
Canoe Creek, and, at the October Court of Claims, moved the court 
to allow him his contract price, to-wit, sixteen hundred dollars, and 
here the first objection to the change of road was suggested. The 
motion of Caruthers was overruled, it being claimed that the bridge 
was not built at the place lawfully designated and fixed by authority 
of the court, and that Caruthers knew it. At the same court James 
Alves and Joel Lambert presented a claim for three hundred and sixty 
dollars, for abutments, which was also rejected. This unaccountable 
behavior on the part of the court continued until the April court,' 
1854, when the claims were allowed, and a committee appointed to 
sell the bridge to the Plank Road Company, for the best price they 
could get, in money or Plank Road stock. 

At the August court, 1853, Joseph Borum, John G. Holloway, A. 
B. Barrett, John Funk, and James D. Hatchett, who had united as a 
company, for the purpose of building a plank road, five miles in length, 
filed an agreement and subscription in open court, whereupon, Henry 
J. Eastin, Willie Sugg, and Edmond Robertson, were appointed to 
view a route ; the committee did so, and their report was received, and 
the road located. Failing to sell the bridge to the Plank Road Com- 
pany in 1859, the following order was passed : 

" For sufficient reasons appearing to the Court, the County releases and 
transfers to the Plank Road Company, all the interest and claim of the County 
in and to the bridge over the town fork of Canoe Creek, on condition that the 
said company keep the said bridge in good repair at its own expense " 


1853. • 

Three thousand eight hundred and twenty tithables were reported 
this year, and one dollar and fifty cents was fixed as the county levy. 
Of this number, sixteen hundred and seventy-eight were whites, and 
twenty-one hundred and forty two were blacks. 

This year Fernwood Cemetery was established. The cholera 

again visited Henderson, and in some localities was distressingly fatal, 

particularly was this the case along First Street, where the land was 

low and marshy. 


Three thousand nine hundred and forty-eight tithables were re- 
ported this year, and one dollar and fifty cents was fixed as the 
county levy. Of this number, seventeen hundred and twenty-seven 
were whites, and twenty-two hundred and twenty-one were blacks. 

March 10 an act was approved incorporating the Paducah & Hen- 
derson Railroad, with L. W. Powell, Grant Green, Joel Lanibert, Al- 
exander B. Barrett, F. H. Dallam, and C. W. Hutchen, incorporators. 
It is to be regretted that this road was never " begun, completed, and 
ended." It did end in nothing being done. 

The Know Nothing Party had come into existence, and Hender- 
son County was claimed by that party. 

The Ohio River was lower in September of this year, than at any 
time since October, 1838, at which time it was lower than ever before 
known to the white man. 

A filibustering expedition against Nicaragua was quietly organized in 
Kentucky this year, and Henderson furnished her quota of impetuous, 
misguided youths. Robert Burbank, a brilliant young man, enlisted 
and died while in that service. 


Up to this time the county paupers were leased out by the year, 
but in 1853 the County Court became convinced that it was best to 
purchase and maintain a county poor-house, and in accordance with 
that conviction, 

"Ordered that Jas. M. Stone. Geo M. Priest, D. N. Walden, and Joel 
Lambert, be appointed commissioners to select, and report the most suitable 
tract of land, and eligible location in the county for a poor house, the said 
tract to contain not less than one hundred acres, and not exceeding two hun- 
dred acres." 

The court not approving of the report of this committee, William 
§. Hicks, Isom Johnson, and R. K. Thornberry, were appointed to 


select a site. In December, 1854, the committee reported, and 
Charies Elliott's land, containing one hundred and eight acres, lying 
on the Madisonville Road, eight and a half miles from the city of 
Henderson, was purchased for fhe sum of two thousand dollars. In 
the year 1872, it was deemed advisable to sell the Poor House farm, 
purchased in 1854, and Ben V. Gibson and C. S. Royster were ap- 
pointed to report upon the propriety of selling, and also to select and 
report a suitable site, contract for a building of ample size to accom- 
modate the demand made upon the county, but not to exceed the sum 
of three thousand dollars. 

The committee reported a sale of the old farm to John M. 
Whitledge, for the sum of two thousand three hundred and four 
dollars and forty cents, and the purchase of B. P. Green, on the 
road leading from Corydon to Cairo, of eleven acres and ten perches, 
for three thousand dollars. May 12 the report was adopted, and since 
that fhne the county Poor House has remained where then located, 
upon one of the prettiest and most cheerful sites of the county. 

• 1855. 

Three thousand eight hundred and thirty tithables were reported 
this year, and the county levy fixed at one dollar and fifty cents. Of 
this number, fifteen hundred and fifty-eight were whites, and twenty- 
two hundred and seventy-two were blacks. 


Before the levy was made by the Court of Claims, the Mayor of 
the City of Henderson, Martin S. Hancock, appeared before the court 
according to law, and satisfied that body, that the city was amply able 
to care for her own streets and paupers, whereupon, an order was 
entered of record, releasing the city from the county levy of one dollar 
and fifty cents, deducting from the list of tithables reported, two hun- 
dred and ninety-four whites, and two hundred and twenty-six blacks, 
the estimated number living within the city limits. 

From this, it will be seen, that the assessed tithable population 
of the City of Henderson, in 1855, was five hundred and twenty. 

On the third day of February, the river was closed by ice, and 
remained closed for eleven days. 

Political excitement ran high this year, and was intensified by 
the terrible riot, on August 6, in the city of Louisville, commonly 
known as " Bloody Monday." 



Three thousand two hundred and thirty tithables were reported 
this year, and the county levy fixed at one dollar. 

On the fifteenth day of February, an act was approved, appor- 
tioning the State into thirteen Judicial Districts. Henderson, with 
Hopkins, Caldwell, Trigg, Christian, Todd and Muhlenburg, composed 
the Second District. 

On the twenty-seventh day of February, the closure of the Ohio 
River by ice, for the surprising period of fifty-three days, ceased, and 
the river broke up. 

Parafifine oil, of great illuminating power, extracted from the can- 
nel coal found near Cloveiport, Breckenridge County, was first intro- 
duced this year, and aided, as it was, by the ingenious lamp,* soon 
superseded the old tallow candle. 

March 10, an act was approved, directing the Quarterly Courts 
of Henderson County to be held on the first Monday in January, 
April, July and October. 


On the same day, an act was approved, incorporating the Ken- 
tucky and Henderson Mutual Insurance Company, John G. Holloway, 
P. H. Hillyer, George M. Priest, Joel Lambert, A. J. Anderson, Peter 
Semonin, M. S. Hancock and Samuel P. Spalding, incorporators, for 
the purpose of insuring their respective dwelling houses, stores, shops, 
other buildings and household furniture, against loss by fire. The 
company was authorized to insure similar property in other parts of 
the State. So far as has been ascertained, this company was organ- 
ized, but never carried the object of the charter of incorporation into 

During this year steamboats ran only two months, owing to ex- 
treme low water and ice. 

January 31, the river closed by ice, and remained closed until Feb- 
ruary 28, when the first steamboat passed down. 

Governor L. W. Powell was elected President of the Henderson 
& Nashville Railroad. This was a year of 


There was a total eclipse of the sun, April 5, and an annual 
eclipse, September 28. On the twenty-eighth of April and thirteenth 
of October, there was a partial eclipse of the moon. 


April 5, the Henderson, Hopl<ins & Union Agricultural and Me- 
chanical Association, having organized a few weeks before, purchased 

of Nestler & Beverly the beautiful grounds yet owned by the 



At this time A. B. Barrett was President, and Cuthbert Powell, 

On the twenty-seventh day of July, a new church at Pleasant Hill, 
on the Madison ville Road, eight or nine miles from the city, was ded- 

October 21, the first Fair was held. The amphitheater was only 
half completed, but the display and attendance was truly gratifying 
to the directory. 

The crop of this year was the best, perhaps, ever known in the 
county. There was more wheat sown and corn planted, and a larger 
yield than looked for. The Mt. Vernon, Indiana, " Advocate," speak- 
ing of this crop, said : 

" We observe that some of our cotemporaries are boasting of the height 
of corn in their respective localities. There is a field of some one hundred 
acres lying in Henderson County, just opposite this place, that we will pit 
against any in the country of a similar extent It contains many stalks over 
sixteen feet in height, and the general average in the entire field is from fourteen 
to fifteen feet." 


Three thousand five hundred and sixty-seven tithables were re- 
ported this year, and the county levy fixed at one dollar. A disease, 
called the " farcy," was quite prevalent among the horses and mules 
this year, and many of them died. Money matters were tight, yet the 
annual exhibition of the " Kentucky 


Held on the grounds of the Henderson Fair Company, commencing 
October 13, was largely attended and proved a brilliant success. The 
" Reporter" of the twenty-second, said : 

"The Fair was attended by a large number of people hailing from all 
parts of Kentucky, and even from neighboring and distant States, Every- 
thing in the power of the managers and citizens generally, was done to render 
the stay of the immense crowd in the city and at the Fair Grounds, comforta-> 
ble and pleasant. 

'* At the grounds the display' was fine in every department, and from the 
first day to the last, nothing of importance occurred to mar the good will 
among competitors and the people. The display in the implement hall was 
very fine The floral hall, for which the ladies deserve all the credit, was not 
only pleasant to the eye, but astonishing to the mind." 


Governor Powell delivered a well prepared address. After a full 
setllement of all indebtedness, the State Board had to their credit, in 
cash, two thousand four hundred 'and eighty-eight dollars and eighty 

On the twenty-fourth day of September, the great editor and 
poet, George D. Prentice, delivered his lecture to an immense audi- 
ence, at the Presbyterian Church. 

The river closed again on January 19, and overflowed its banks 

in the fall. 


Three thousand six hundred and thirty-eight tithables were re- 
ported this year, and the county levy fixed at one dollar and fifty cents. 

This was a year of Fridays. The year began and ended on Fri- 
day ; January and October began and ended on Friday ; April and 
December ended on Friday, and there were fifty-three Fridays in the 

The month of January was an unheard of wpt month; corn in 
river pens suffered almost total ruin, in many cases the cob wholly, 
and the grain partially rottmg, rendering the grain unfit for the com- 
monest uses. Too much heat and water rendered this year more un- 
seasonable than any since 1834: 

January 18, a Henderson letter appeared in the Louisville Courier, 
from which the following is taken. 

" Our city is rapidly gaining accessions to its population. Houses, both 
for dwelling and business, are scarce, not enough to supply the demand. In 
view of this fact, several of our capitalists have projected, and will build quite 
a number of stores and residences next spring and summer. Land is high, 
and the tendency is to still higher prices ; fifty dollars per acre is asked for 
land lying three, five, and even eight miles from the city. The fact that a 
large amount of the Henderson iS: Nashville Railroad bonds were recently sold 
in the city of Ncw York for cash, caused a happy feeling here, and will tend 
to keep up the present high price of land." 

The railroad excitement, as is well known, did more than inspire 
the tenacious land-holder with renewed hope, it ruined the prospects 
of the town, in the opinion of non-residents. A large majority of the 
land owners were rejoiced at the increase in the price of their terri- 
iory per acre, but determined not to risk one cent in the building of 
the road, therefore Henderson stood still for many years. The great 
comet, Charles V, was visible in this county during the fall of this 

September 30, the first daily mail Henderson had enjoyed, was 
established, an overland route to and from Evansville. 



In the e'arly fall of this year, Nathaniel D. Terry cabled the Ohio 
at Evansville, and established and operated the Old Telegraph line 
successfully. Prior to that time^the wire had crossed on high poles, 
above Evansville, but was so interfered with by steamboat chimneys, 
during high water, that the plan was abandoned, and the line sold. 
October 14, the temperance prodigy, Josephus Cheaney, a native 
of Henderson, and yet very young, lectured in Henderson. This 
natural orator, by no means handsome or beautiful, traveled in Europe 
and over the greater part of the United States, laboring from the 
rostrum, in the good cause of temperance, and yet, it was said, in his 
young days, that he possessed a keen relish for liquor straight, and 
could track a mint julep across the river. 

Prior to the fall of this year, fashion had induced all of the gentle . 
sex to deform themselves in matter of dress. Hoops were fashionable, 
and the more enormous the hoops, the more fashionable the wearer. 
The nearer the model of a five gallon demijohn a lady could approach, 
the nearer she succeeded in reaching the climax of disfigurement and 
the demands of fashion. 

In those days there was but one hack in Henderson County, so 
in times of parties and swell occasions, young men, who doubted the 
policy of having their sweethearts foot it, frequently called into requi- 
sition the family buggy. Although such a vehicle, in these days, 
would be amply convenient for three persons, yet, in 1858, when the 
lady of hoops had seated herself, there was really no room for the 
gentleman, and he was therefore compelled to submit to circumscribed 
space, ride the horse, of else content himself with the footman's seat 
behind. A full dress lady of 1858, seated in one of the Delker 
Phaeton Company's modern make of buggies, would be a sight suf- 
ficient to frighten a whole army of timid men. It was a horrid fashion, 
and thank heavens the French connosseurs, in the fall of that year, 
gave to the female world a dress more modest and becoming. Since 
that time, with the exception of what is called trails, female dress has 
been confined within the bounds of good taste. About that time, the 
gentlemen wore large-legged pants, so large, that, I venture, if a pair 
of them were suddenly to make their appearance on the streets, the 
wearer would be followed by the boys, as though he were a curiosity 

In February, an act of the Legislature was approved, extending 
the term of the Henderson Circuit Court, from twenty-four to thirty-six 
judicial days. 



Three thousand seven hundred and seventy-three tithables were 
reported this year, and the county levy fixed at one dollar and fifty 

At the August County Court, Judge Grant Green on the bench, 
Isham Cottingham, William E. Bennett, Y. E. Allison, Harbert A. 
Powell, Hugh Moss, William S. Hicks, and E. T. Hazlewood, justices, 
answered to their names. Col. John W. Crockett, representing the 
Mayor and Council of the City of Henderson, moved the court to 
surrender up to the city a certain lot of ground, which was then under 
fence, and unlawfully claimed by the county, whereupon the following 
order was entered : 

"It is ordered that the Jailer of Henderson County surrender up to the 
City of Henderson, all that ground now enclosed as a public square, not em- 
braced in the deed from Samuel Hopkins for Richard Henderson & Company, 
dated April 1, i8oo, to the county, Book A, page 135, the true boundary to be 
ascertained by D. N. Walden, and he is directed to return a plat of said sur- 
vey to this court for record, and to plant stones at the corners." 

The city agreed to build a good fence, as also to pay for a fill 
made by James Manion, to be measured and ascertained by Walden. 
At the October Court Walden reported the fill worth one hundred and 
twenty-six dollars and fifty-five cents, which the court accepted. 

W. E. Lambert, a member of the Common Council, then on be- 
half of the city, presented two accounts against the county, amount- 
ing to nine hundred and thirty-two dollars, for grading, paving, and 
graveling in front and opposite the Court House lot, these accounts 
the court rejected, and refused to levy for their payment. This im- 
agined bad faith on the part of the city, in asking no more than she 
was justly entitled to, incensed the high Court of Justices, and the next 
day the following order, in substance, was adopted : 

"Ordered, that the order accepting the report of D. N. Walden be set 
aside, and that the order surrendering a part of the Public Square to the city, 
be rescinded, and the Jailer directed to hold on to every inch of ground inclosed 
aroutid Court House Square, from Main to Elm Streets, and he is author- 
ized to employ counsel, and take all lawful steps and means to retain and de- 
fend the possession of every part of said inclosed ground." 

To this sweeping order. Colonel Crockett, on behalf of the city, 
objected, but this objection was fruitless. This, then of course, was 
the beginning of a great law suit, which the city gained. The lot of 


ground in dispute is now owned and controlled by the city, and is the 
lot upon which the market house and City Hall stands— a full descrip- 
tion of the title to this ground ^ill be found in the history of Hen 

In August, 1859, Professors Marlow, Tremelier and Artis, adver- 
tised their Female Academy. Political excitement this year, as for 
many years anterior, ran high. Samuel O. Peyton, Democrat, de- 
feated General James Jackson, opposition ; as an evidence of the great 
excitement the newspapers published at that time, the Reporter and 
Commercial, paid no attention whatever to local news matter. It is a 
fact that they denied space to important news, for the purpose of pub- 
lishing long-winded political editorials, personal compliments, and 
scathing articles against the opposing candidates. This was the year 
of the great can vass between Josh Bell and Beriah Magoffin. Magoffin 
was elected, but Henderson voted for Bell. 

On the thirty-first day of August, Colonel William S. Elam was 
shot and seriously wounded by one Lewis Leonard. At the trial of 
Leonard, Colonel Elam, who was a witness, was severely cross-exam- 
ined by Hal. Barbour, a brilliant young lawyer and nephew, by mar- 
riage, of F. H. Dallam, a leading lawyer at this bar. Barbour was 
visiting-Henderson at the time, and volunteered to defend Leonard. 
In his argument to the jury, Barbour applied the lash to Elam most 
unmercifully, and from this it was well known that a personal ren- 
counter would ensue. Both parties were immediately placed under 
bond by the Judge, but this was not enough to soothe the now out- 
raged honor of Elam. It was said that a challenge passed, and was 
accepted, that the time and place was agreed upon, that both parties 
were determined, but through the interference of Governor Dixon, 
Messrs Dallam, Hughes, Cissell and others, a better understanding 
was arrived at, and'finally peace declared. Hon. Grant Green, hav- 
ing been elected at the August election, Auditor of Public accounts, 
resigned his office of County Judge, and after a hotly contested elec" 
tiont Luke W. Trafton was elected to fill out his unexpired term. 

On the eighth day of October, the celebrated Paragon Morgan, 
by long odds the handsomest horse ever owned in the county, died 
from overheat in driving him from Morganfield to Henderson. The 
Postmaster at Smith's mil'ls, having failed for three successive quar- 
ters, to make his quarterly report to the Post Office Department at 
Washington, the office was discontinued until December, when it was 



again re-established. On the twenty-eighth day of October, James 
Tillotson, a great local politician, and noted county man, and for 
whom one of the precincts of the county was called, and yet bears his 
name, died. The Spottsville Postmaster resigned his office and re- 
commended a discontinuance of the same. 


ETC., ETC., ETC. — 1860. 

Y^ HE population of Henderson County, by official count, was re- 
^^ ported this year, to be fourteen thousand two hundred and 
sixty-two, an increase of two thousand and ninety-one since the cen- 
sus of 1850. Of this number, eight thousand four hundred and five 
were whites, five thousand seven hundred and sixty-seven were slaves, 
ninety-five free colored, and fourteen hundred and forty-two foreigners. 
Abraham Lincoln, of Illinois, was this year elected President of 
the United States, and upon a platform whose cause of difference be- 
tween the two great sections of the country was irreconcilable. It was 
evident that a struggle, destined to rend the country in pieces amid 
carnage, desolation and blood, was now dawning, and would soon re- 
sult in war more terrible than had ever before been known. Slavery 
was now to be abolished in toto, or the right to hold slaves settled for- 
ever. The question had agitated the country for several years, and 
the election of Mr. Lincoln was taken by the extreme Southern States 
to mean freedom of the negro. Kentucky lay topographically in the 
center of the grouping States, in fact she occupied the identical po- 
litical and social ground between the contending parties, she had held 
in her earliest settlement between the Northern and Southern tribes 
of Indians. She was then the "dark and bloody ground," and upon 



her soil was fought great battles by contending forces from the North 
and South. 

Again she was to become the battlefield for the mighty hosts of 
the North and South, in martial form, a thousand times more terrible 
and destructive than in early times. How to avert this direful calam- 
ity, was a question patriots and statesmen labored hard and unceas- 
ingly to solve. Kentucky declined to secede from the Union, prefer- 
ring to remain neutral. Her natural and geographical sympathies 
were with the South, yet there was a sentiment of devotion to the 
Union, nearly akin to the religious faith, which is born in childhood, 
and which never falters during the excitement of the longest life, and 
which at last enables " the cradle to triumph over the grave." At this 
time Henderson county was strong Union, for the mass of her peo- 
ple had never reasoned about it. " The suggestion of its dissolution 
was esteemed akin to blasphemy." Aside from this, the great bulk of 
her people were better soldiers in peace, than in war, and felt none of 
those patriotic emotions Vv^hich rush into absolute and uncontrolable 
impetuosity at the tap of a drum or the shrill sound of a fife. Outside 
of two hundred or more enthusiastic young men of the county, the 
others were content with letting alone and being let alone. There 
seemed to be a greater disposition to make money at this time than 
ever before, and notwithstanding war was inevitable, and as a culminat- 
ing consequence slavery would be abolished, very many of the lead- 
ing planters of the county purchased large numbers of negroes, and 
extended the magnitude of their crops. Negroes were purchased up 
to the time of, and even before the first proclamation of Mr. Lincoln, 
and when all doubt as to the real and true intent of the party in 
power was settled beyond question, emissaries from the North were 
cautiously circulating among the negro population, and many bits of 
Abolition literature had been discovered. There were secret move- 
ments of the blacks, and evident dissatisfaction. There was hardly 
a day or night, but one or more of them did not find safe passage to 
Indiana. Insurrections became talked of, and for a time great un- 
easiness was manifestly apparent. Patrols and guards were kept 
along the entire river front, and yet with all these expensive precau- 
tions, many slaves effected a safe and farewell escape. In the latter 
part of 1859 a fellow named George A. Boyle, who had lived in Hen- 
derson for a year or more, and had oftentimes expressed himself in 
sympathy with Old John Brown, of Harper's Ferry fame, declared 
that he had a *' big Republican heart," and was suspected and accused 
of having circulated a large number of abolition pamphlets amongst 


the slaves of the city and county. He was watched and detected in 
holding Republican council with several negroes, and the City Coun- 
cil, upon learning this fact, voted that he should vacate the town. To 
this end a committee waited upon the gentleman of Abolition faith, 
and warned him if he did not depart, and that immediately, he would 
be furnished a free ride, and a tar suit profusely ornamented with va- 
rigated feathers. Boyle guided by the advice of the committee, took 
to his heels, and was never again seen in Henderson. He was a 
blacksmith by trade. There were many more such men as Boyle, but 
so secret were their movements, and so carefully and judiciously laid 
were all their plans, they escaped discovery, and continued to do their 
work unmolested. 

In February an act of the Legislature was approved, authorizing 
the Judge of the County Court to change the boundary or voting 
places in any precinct. 

March 2, that portion of the county lying north of Green River, 
and running from James Jones' lower corner, and then on a straight 
line to Ben. Allin's lower corner on Green River, was taken from Hen- 
derson and Added to Daviess County. 

November of this year, Thomas J. Lockett, who had been com- 
missioned to take the census of the county, made the following re- 
port. Population of the county and city, 14,753 ; population of the 
city, 4,011 ; wealth of the county, $14,594,251 ; wealthiest man in the 
county, A. B. Barrett, $1,850,000 ; oldest male, James Bell, ninety- 
three years ; oldest person, '' Milly," property of the estate of Colo- 
nel Robert Smith, one hundred and five years. 

December 6, under the military law. William P. Grayson, Colonel 
of the. Henderson County Militia, divided the county into military 
districts, and ordered an election to be held in each district on the 
eighteenth day of December, for the purpose of electing captains 
and lieutenants. The farce was never carried out. 

The following advertisement, which to many at this day will sound 
rather queer, appeared in the " Reporter " for several* issues : " B. 
W. Lucas advertises that he has and keeps constantly on hand a lot of 
likely negroes, which he will be pleased to sell at reasonable prices. 
Mr. Lucas is a gentleman who will do all that he says." 

About that time, and for some years prior to that time, negro 
traders made frequent visits to Henderson en route South, and would 
remain two or three weeks selling, exchanging, or buying negro slaves. 


The first day of January of each year, was a great day. Great 
crowds of men congregated in the town, knowing it to be the day for 
hiring and selling negroes. A block, or box, was usually placed at 
the most central point of the principal street, and from this block, or 
box, negroes — men, women and children — were hired for the ensuing 
year, or sold outright. 

Now that those horrid times have past and gone, many men, who 
at that time dealt in human life, look back and acknowledge the jus- 
tice of universal freedom. 

Under the law, a slave could be sold under execution just the 
same as other property, and oftentimes, husband and wife, mother and 
child were separated,perhaps never to see each other again. Frequently, 
for the purpose of settling estates,the unity of a happy family of negroes 
was entirely broken up by sale. It was not an unfrequent occurrence 
for mother and father to be sold away down in Dixie, while their chil- 
dren were purchased by a resident, or some legatee of the estate. It 
was the universal custom to sell mean or worthless negroes, and most 
generally they were sent to the far South. Many a sad parting, a dis- 
tressing separation has been witnessed on the streets of Henderson. 
Tears have flown, and distressed manifestations and exclamations 
have been seen and heard, and yet the great mass would pass on as 
unconcernedly as though it was the braying of so many dumb brutes. 
Negroes, who were faithful, and were owned by humane masters, were 
well treated, and as a general thing were as happy as mankind is ever 
permitted to be, yet there were instances, where the treatment of 
these people was cruel in the extreme. As a rule, Henderson County 
slave owners were good masters, and were solicitous for the welfare of 
their negroes, and while some of the stories told by the people of the 
North concerning the treatment of this race, bore the semblance of 
truth ; in the main they were base fabrications, at least so far as those 
stories concerned Kentucky. 

November 6, the Presidential election was held. The Nat" 
ional Democratic party, having split in the Charleston S. C, Conven- 
tion, the two factions, each presented a candidate for the presidency? 
Stephen A. Douglas, representing one faction, John C. Breckenridge 
the other. Seeing this, the Republican party, then but a small factor 
in National politics, nominated Abraham Lincoln, while the old 
Whigs, opposition and Know Knothings, presented a candidate in 
the person of John Bell, of Tennessee. The contest on all sides was 
a bitter one, and in no county in the South did the excitement par- 
take of a greater blaze than in Henderson. 


The county was stumped by able speakers, and the people thor- 
oughly aroused to the importance of polling a full vote. The follow- 
ing is the official vote of the county : 

Bell. Breckenridge. Douglas. Lincoln. 
Henderson Precinct 3:^>8 144 103 1 

TillotBon rrecinct 98 78 31 

Walnut Bottom 100 51 19 

HebardsvlUe Precinct : 117 70 2 

Woodruff Precinct 57 19 6 i 

Corytlon Precinct 116 126 48 .3 

Point Precinct 20 10 2 

846 498 211 5 

Showing conclusively, that Henderson was unmistakably a strong op' 
position county. Mr. Lincoln was elected chief magistrate, and upon 
the reception of this news, the aspect of affairs became truly alarming. 
Never in the history of the Nation, did a severance of the ties 
which bound the States together io one confederated community, ap- 
pear so inevitable. Of all the dark hours in the history of the Re- 
public, since the darkest moment in the war of Independance, the 
darkest cloud yet visible, had cast its shadows athwart the political 
heavens. The South Carolina Legislature, in session at this time, 
had taken measures to set up an independent government, and infor- 
mation from several of the Southern States indicated a determination 
to withdraw from the Union, and to inaugurate the dismemberment of 
a confederacy, united by the most hallowed and inspiring recollections, 
and by a unity and magnificence of interests unparallelled in the his- 
tory of Nations. 

The Government trembled under the strain caused by the war 
now waging between conflicting prejudices, interests and principles. 
Kentucky, most sensible to these grand and endearing memories, and 
inseparably involved in those common interests, claimed to be heard 
ere the torch was applied to the grand old temple, in which she was 
the oldest christened daughter of the constitution. Yes, Kentucky was 
deeply interested, for upon her soil, most likely, were the great con- 
tending forces to measure strong arms, and Henderson County was 
interested, for she was a border county. 

The State could not speak until the counties had spoken, and 
upon this depended the destiny of all. Henderson was among the 
first to speak. A meeting of the people of the city and county was 
called to meet at the Court House Saturday night November 10, 1860, 
circulars were issued, setting forth in strong language the importance 
of the meeting, and at the hour of meeting, a large and enthusiastic 
audience had assembled. On motion of F. H. Dallam, Hon. Archi- 


bald Dixon was called to the chair, and J. W. Rice, appointed Secre- 
tary. Governor Dixon, on taking the chair, explained the object of 
the meeting, and then made an eloquent appeal in favor of the Union. 
On motion of Mr. Dallam, a committee of five on resolutions was 
ordered, and the Chairman appointed F. H. Dallam, C. W. Hutchen, 
Colonel John W. Crockett, Harvey Yeaman and J. Cabell Allen. 

While the committee was out Hon. B. W. Hanna, of Terre Haute, 
Indiana, a distinguished lawyer and politician, being loudly called for, 
came forward and addressed the meeting in a most eloquent speech. 
Colonel John T. Bunch, Ira Delano and S. B Vance, were called 
for and responded in speeches of great power. At the close of Mr. 
Vance's speech the committee came in and made the following report. 
The resolutions were preceded by a long preamble only a portion of 
which it is deemed necessary to re^oroduce: 

"Whereas, It is apparent that certain misguided persons in the South 
^vould fain make tlie election of Mr, Lincoln tlie occasion, or pretext, of "pre- 
cipitating the so-called slave States into secession or revolution, while certain 
persons in the North would Ian the. liame of discontent in their section, for the 
same purpose. 

And, whereas In view of this deplorable state of things, it is eminently 
right, and indeed indispensible, that the people take at once the management 
of this all-important and paramount question out of the hands of partisans, 
politicians, and office-seekers. 

Therefore, resolved. First. That we do now, and here, proclaim our de- 
termined love and fealty to the Union as it is. 

Second. That we do now, and here, on the altar of our country's peace, 
and for the furtherance of the purposes we hstve indicated, oft'er and yield up 
all of our heretofore mere personal preferances and prejudices. 

'J'hird That in view of the dangers which imperil our common country, a 
mass meeting of all the citizens of the county, without distinction of party, 
be called, to l;e held in the Court House, on Saturday, the 17th inst., at 1 
o'clock 1* M , tor the purpose of consulting, and forming a suitable organiza- 
tion, by which to shape and regulate our action hereafter." 

F. H. Dallam then advocated the passage of the resolutions in[a 
forcible speech. Col. John W. Crockett addressed the meeting, and 
then a motion was made, requesting all of the papers in the Stale to 
copy the proceedings, and the meeting adjourned. 

The object of the meeting on the 17th, was to get an earnest ex- 
pression of the views of the people, upon the alarming issue between 
the triumph of sectionalism, and the threatened secession of the 
Southern States. 

The day of meeting came, and with it a multitude from every sec- 
tion of the county. The spacious court room was packed with citi- 



zens, who evinced a solicitude for the welfare of the country, while 
their manifested anxiety showed that they appreciated the impending 
danger. Gov. Dixon was again galled to preside over the meeting, 
and^explained the object of its call in an address of the deepest 


Col. John W. Crockett, chairman of the committee appointed on 
resolutions, made the report, which was for the preservation of the 
Union at all hazzards. To read the report at this time, one would 
judge that the people of Henderson and Henderson County were 
preUy unanimously for the Union, but we find that on the twenty-fifth 
day of December (Christmas) the Henderson Artillery Organization, 
formed under the laws of Kentucky, turned out in full force, and 
fired fifteen rounds for the Southern Co?i_federacy. There was no dam- 
age done, however, beyond the serious wounding of G. L. Pierman, 
the gunner, by a premature discharge of the gun, and the upsetting of 
W. W. Catlin, who was standing near by at the time. 

At the close of this year the political mercury had risen to blood 
heat, and early in 1861 it indicated a still greater degree of political 



January 10, in a column and a half editorial, the " Reporter " 
came out squarely for secession, and in the issue of the 17th, a red hot 
call was made for a mass meeting to be held at the Court House on 
Saturday, the 19th, ''to Id Henderson County express her sentiments^ 

There had been a meeting held in the Court House on the 5th, inst., 
at which strong Union resolutions were adopted, and this meeting to 
be held on the 19th, it was understood, was to place Henderson right on 
the record. The copy of the call will explain itself : 

'• Whereas, It is beUeved that the meeting at the Court House on the 
5, inst.. did not express the sense of the people of this eounty ; many have 
united in calling a mass meeting of the people irrespective of party, at the 
Court House on Saturday, the 19th January, at 2 o'clock, p. m., to take into 
consideration the state of the country , and indicate the course Kentucky should 
pursue in the present eniergenc3f The resolution offered by Judge Milton 
Young, at the meeting on the 5th, declares the Union paramount. Let us see 
if the people of Henderson County are willing to say to their Southern breth- 
ren, and their Northern enemies, that they are for the Union whether the 
South is equal under the Constitution or not People of Henderson County, 
read this bill, and see if you wih not come out on Saturday and rebuke the 
conduct of the men who have endeavored to place you in such a position."' 

The foregoing was circulated in every section of the county, and 
at the appointed time, the Court House was crowded to its capacity. 


The meeting was organized by appointing Colonel John W. Crockett 
Chairman, and Robert T. Glass Secretary. It was soon evident that 
a great split was to occur ; there were those who wanted to sympathize 
with the South, and so express it in writing, while the large majority 
were in favor of standing by the resolutions of the previous meeting. 
Peace and harmony had withdrawn, and every fellow who could speak, 
and many more who could not, were yelling at the top of their voices, 
Mr. Chairman ! Mr. Chairman ! while in this tumultous uproar, and 
broad field of disorder, an old grey haired patriot entered the crowded 
auditorium, waiving over his head a large flag, "The Stars and 
Stripes " — great heavens, what a scene ! it could hardly be pictured : 
strong men wept like little children, the crowd arose seemingly en- 
masse, andfairlv rent the buildino^ with screams for the Union. The 
excitement was beyond control, and not until Governor Dixon, whose 
magnificent presence electrified all around him, had mounted the ros- 
trum, and waived his arm, could a composed looker-on, determine 
whether this wonderous crowd, was a convention of intelligent men, 
or an asylum of howling lunatics When comparative order had been 
restored, the flag was taken to the speaker's stand, and the announce- 
ment made that it had been presented by thirteen patriotic ladies of 
the city. I'his was the occasion for another outburst. To look upon 
the sea of humanity that surged within the walls of the Court House, 
it was but natural that Fancy should assert a temporary reign, 
and waving her jeweled sceptre, bid one's spirit back to the old Hall 
of Independence, where the representatives of the people, who writhed 
under the lash of oppression and the scorpion sting of wrong, were 
signing the declaration, pledging all, to conquer their oppressors or 
pour out their crimson life tide on the soil they had sworn to protect. 
In that throng were all ages — the boy, young and thoughtless ; the 
young, fired with patriotism and confident of strength, and the sire 
with the frosts of many winters silvering his aged locks, whose super- 
annuated frame quivered with a strange strength, whose prescient eye 
beheld the storm clouds in the Northern and Southern horizons, con- 
veying with the rapidity of the sweep of*a sirocco. Resolutions were 
passed, but not the sort of resolutions wanted by those who had been 
instrumental in calling the convention. 

The meeting adjourned amid the wildest confusion, and until a 
late hour in the night, the stars and stripes were" paraded over the 
town, followed by hundreds of men and boys ; music was in the air, and 
every man who could speak and had a good word to say for the flag, 
was serenaded, and called to the front. An unusual crowd gath- 


ered in front of Governor Dixon's residence, and after listening 
to several pieces by the band, the Governor appeared, and for thirty 
minutes held them spell bound by his matchless eloquence. Late in 
the night the crowd- dispersed, and in three weeks afterwards, many 
of them were yelling the loudest for the Southern Confederacy. 


During the month, the followmg editorial appeared in the Re- 
porter : 

" We cannot remember when times were harder than at present, inoney is 
almost entirely withdrawn from circulation, and we are told is worth an al- 
most fabulous percenture per month. Real estate can hardly be disposed of 
at any price. The question is not how much money a man is worth, but how 
much can he raise. Negroes sold on New Years day at ruinously low figures, 
and the best of servants hired at prices vastly below the usual standard. Con- 
fidence cannot be restored in commercial circles until the National difficulties 
are settled, and the sooner the odious union between North and South is sev- 
ered the better Capitalists tvill not relax their 2)urse strings before the estab- 
lishment of the Southern Confederacy, which tve believe ivill be born about the 
fourth of March next.'' 

Contrary to the judgment of the "Reporter," money was never 
more plentiful, nor the wages of mechanics and laboring men so high, 
as during the war which followed. Expert stemmers of tobacco were 
known to hire for one hundred and fifty dollars per month, while the 
most ordinary hand could command seventy-five dollars. 

On the thirteenth day of January, Old Jack Shingler, one of the 
pioneers of the county, breathed his last. 

March 19, a terrible wind storm passed over the city, unroofing 
many houses. 

April 15, President Lincoln issued his proclamation, calling for 
seventy-five thousand militia to suppress the rebellion. A call was made 
upon Governor Beriah Magoffin for Kentucky's quota. The Governor 
sent the following dispatch : 

'• I say, emphatically, that Kentucky will furnish no troops for subduing 
her sister Southern States." 

After this the war began in earnest. River towns were seized, 
and a regular system of searching steamboats established. 

On the twenty-third day of April a meeting was held at the Court 
House for the purpose of organizing a Home Guard Company. Hon. 


John C. Atkinson presided, and Gawin I. Beatty performed the du- 
ties of Secretary. A large number enrolled their names, and in a few 
days a full company was organized and ready for service. An elec- 
tion of officers was held, and the following names chosen : E. L. 
Starling, Jr., Captain; First Lieutenant, Charles T. Starling; Second 
Lieutenant, Harvey Yeaman ; O. S., W. S. Johnson. 

A few weeks subsequent to this time, to-wit : on the twenty-fourth 
of June, another company of home guards enlisted, and the following 
were chosen officers : Jas. H. Holloway, Captain , L. W. Dan- 
forth. First Lieutenant ; William R. Lancaster, Second Lieutenant, 
Andy Rowdin, Third Lieutenant. 

Henderson, during the year, was well supplied with military. In 
addition to the two companies above named, there was the State 
Guard Company, organized November 7, 1859. This company was 
organized in the counting office of Kerr, Clark & Co., and had their 
first drill in the front room. W. P. Fisher, an old Mexican soldier, 
and then proprietor of the Hord House, was elected Captain ; E. G. 
Hall, First Lieutenant ; Leonard H. Lyne, Second Lieutenant, and 
Robert T. Glass, Third Lieutenant. 

On the twenty-fourth day of May, Colonel William S. Elam, of 
the State Militia, mustered the company into the State service. In 
the fall, Captain Fisher resigned, and the following officers were 
chosen ; E. G. Hall, Captain ; Robert T. Glass, First Lieutenant ; 
James H. Holloway, Second Lieutenant, and Samuel W. Rankin, 
Third Lieutenant. 

In the winter and spring of 18G0 and 1861, it was evident that 
war would result upon the inauguration of President Lincoln, and 
there was a great diversity of opinion among the men of the State 
Guards as to the right of the General Government, in calling upon 
the Slate of Kentucky for troops. This defection grew until most of 
those who held to the belief that the Government had the right, and 
that it was the duty of the militia to respond promptly, withdrew from 
the State Guard, as it was called, and enrolled with the " Home 
Guards " Captain Starling and Lieutenant Holloway among the num- 

The Legislature of 18(10 and '61, had prescribed a new oath to 
be taken by the State Guard troops, and this created another breach, 
many members refusing to take it on account of its loyal tendency. 
By this time the State Military Board had been remodeled. Men of 



a more loyal turn of mind, to Kentucky, at least, if not to the Fed- 
eral Government, had been appointed, and the General Simon Bolivar 
Buckner State Guard, as they ^ere called, were generally looked upon 
with some degree of suspicion concerning their loyalty to Kentucky, 
therefore the organization of the Home Guards. These soldiers were 
not greatly admired by the Southern sympathizers, and "Home 
Guard " was an intentional sarcasm when applied by them, to any 
member of that command. 

Early in September an order was received from the Military Board 
at Frankfort, ordering fifty men of the Henderson Home Guards to 
Spottsville, for the purpose of guarding the lock and dam at that 
place. In obedience to that order, Captain Holloway, with a portion 
of his company and part of Company " A," under command of Lieu- 
tenant Charles T. Starling, left for the lock, marching overland 
through the mud and rain, and reaching that place at ten o'clock in 
the night. A few days afterwards, Captain Holloway was relieved for 
a shor't time by Captain Starling, with a reinforcement from Company 
"A." While the Home Guards were at Spottsville, a party of men 
seized the State Guard arms from the City Armory, consisting of a full 
compliment of Mississippi rifles and a six-pound canon, and left in 
the night for the South. A bond had been taken by the State for the 
safe keeping of these arms and their return, and this sudden proced- 
ure caused the securities on that bond, together with others, to pur- 
sue the fleeing captors. The flight was not so rapid as the chase, and 
as a consequence, the party were overtaken at Mrs. Ruby's, on the 
Madisonville Road, and persuaded to release the arms and permit 
their return to Henderson. They were brought back and returned to 
the armory in the brick store room now the Shelton Hotel, adjoining 
the house of A. S. Winstead's, on Second Street. The Military 
Board at Frankfort, soon heard of this, and in a few days thereafter 
the following resolution and order were received at Spottsville Head- 
quarters : 

" Military Board, Frankfort, September 20, 1861. 

^'Resolved. That Captain W. P. Fisher, of Henderson County, deliver 
the arms drawn by him tor his company, consisting of sixty rifles, sword, 
bayonets, sixty sets of accoutrements, one six pound brass cannon, equipments 
complete and seven artillery sabers and belts, to Captain E.L. StarHng. Jr., of said 

county, who is hereby authorized to demand, receive, and receipt for the same, 
and the Secretary is directed to notify each of said Captains. 

- P. SWIGERT, Secy." 


"Frankfort, September 20, 1861. 
" Captain E. L. Starling./r.: 

"You are authorized and directed to demand and receive, from Captain 
W. P. Fisher, the arms drawn by him for his Company as contained in the 
foregoirig resolutions of the Board. 

P. SWIGERT, Secretary." 

In obedience to this order, Captain Starling proceeded forthwith 
to Henderson, and made known his orders to Third Lieutenant Sam- 
uel W. Rankin, the only commissioned officer in the city at the time. 
Lieutenant Rankin, unhesitatingly turned over the key to the armory, 
and in a short time, the guns were being packed ready for shipment. 
This fact soon became known, and among a few of the old State 
Guards, there was a disposition to rebel. There were a sufficient 
number of men of Companies A and B. in the city to meet any 
trouble that might have been brought on, and they were summoned to 
the armory, and never did men respond more promptly. A guard was 
placed in the armory, and also in charge of the six pound brass can- 
non, then under the shed of the stable near the Hancock House. 
There was a great commotion upon the streets, and to this day the 
writer believes that the influence of Governors Powell and Dixon, 
prevented what otherwise might have been a serious affair in the city. 
While passing down Main Street from the armory to where the can- 
non was. Captain Starling was halted by a deputy sheriff, (who prior to 
that time, had been loud mouthed in his denunciation of the Frank- 
fort order), and notified that he was a prisoner under a warrant 
issued by Judge L. W. Trafton. The following is a copy of the war- 
rant : 

" The Commonwealth of Kentucky, to the Sheriff of Henderson Countij : 

You are commanded to arrest Captain E. L. Starling, and bring him before 
the Judge of the Henderson County Court, on the thirtieth day of September, 
1861, at the Court House, in the City of Henderson, to show cause why he 
shall not give security to the County of Henderson, to indemnify said county 
from loss on account of the State arms, etc, now in possession of said Starling, 
and which arms, etc. were formerly in possession of a company of State 
guards in Henderson County, called the ' Hendeison Guards,' and make due 
return of this writ. 

" Witness my hand, as Judge of the Henderson County Court, this twenty- 
fifth day of September, 1861. L. W. TRAFTON, J. H. C. C " 

A graceful surrender was made to the overjoyed Deputy Sheriff, 
and a quiet walk with him into the august presence of his honor, the 


Judge, who was found in a brick office, located in the Turner block of 
one-story brick buildings on the east side of Main Street, writing at 
his table, aided by the flickering light of a tallow candle. " Here's 
your man," remarked the enraged deputy. . " Well, sir," said he, " It 
is for you to see that he reports on the thirtieth." ''Well, Judge," 
said the Captain, "What is it you wish me to do ?" " Well, sir," 
said he, " You must give security to the county for the arms you have 
seized, or else go to jail." '* But, if your honor please, I have not 
seized the arms ; I have received them by order of the State Military 
Board." " No matter by whose order you have received or taken 
them, you understand my ultimatum." " Certainly, I do ; but permit 
me to make one single remark, Judge, and that is this: The arms 
are in my possession, as an officer and agent of the State, and by au- 
thority of the highest military power in the State. I intend to hold 
them without giving bond or going to jail ; furthermore, a few more 
capers like this on your part, and that of your henchman, whom you 
denominate Deputy Sheriff, will insure your arrest, and a free passage 
up the placid Ohio. A word to the wise, etc. With this the Cap- 
tain walked out, and has never heard from the Judge or deputy con- 
cerning the warrant from that night. It seems that the canon and its 
guards were closely watched, for about midnight, while the two guards 
had stepped away for a moment only, a lick was heard, and in hastily 
returning, a man was seen to retreat from the cannon ; nothing was 
thought of it at the time, but upon close examination, it was found 
that the cannon had been spiked, but, not enough so to damage it, for 
next morning the piece of file broken off an inch above the touch-hole, 
was easily pulled out by Mr. V. M, Mayer, soldier and gun-smith. 
During the night and a part of the next day, the guns and accoutri- 
ments were all securely boxed up and they, with the cannon, taken to 
the wharfboat, where they were taken aboard of a steamer and a few 
hours afterwards safely stored away in Evansville, amidst the wildest 
excitement and congratulations of the young militia of that place. 

In addition to the Home Guard and State Guard companies 
spoken of, there was also a cavalry company of sixty-five men, organ- 
ized on the twenty-fifth day of August, 1860. The officers of this com- 
mand were John S. Norris, Captain ; Samuel W. Elam, First Lieuten- 
ant ; S. S. Hicks, Second Lieutenant; John R. White, Third Lieuten- 
ant, and George W. White, Orderly Sergeant. 


This company was completely equipped with cavalry outfit by the 
State, consisting" of pistols, sabers, etc. Four clays after the State 
Board had ordered in the arms of the State Guard company, Captain 
Starling, yet at Spotlsville, received a second order, directing him to 
take possession of the arms of the State Guard cavalry company. In 
obedience to this order he came to Henderson and found the arms 
stored away in the building now owned by John Reichert, and with 
the assistance of Captain Norris — who readily consented to surrender 
them up — and several others, soon had the arms boxed up, and en- 
route to the wharfboat for shipment to Evansville. This, then, was 
the end of the two State Guard companies as State organizations. In 
October, the command at Spottsville, then under Captain Holloway, 
was relieved by federal soldiers, and then returned to Henderson 
where they were soon after disbanded. 

In the sketch of Colonel James H. Holloway's life, will be found 
a statement showing how companies '' A and B," of the Home 
Guards, received their arms. 

The writer regrets that it is not in his power to give a full list of 
the soldiery at that time, among those remembered as doing faithful 
service are. Judge P. H. Hillyer, D. N. Walden, W. H. Lewis, W. S. 
Johnson, Jacob Held, Jr., Charlie Grieks, Harvey Yeaman, Charles 
T. Starling, John C. Stapp, Fred. Held, Lou. Zeller,Dr. R. A Armis- 
tead. David P. Lockett. 

On the second day- of May of this year. Uncle Johnny Upp, one 
of the pioneers, and who was taken by the Indians opposite this city, 
marched to Chillicothe, Ohio, and heroically endured the privations 
and hardships of Indian captivity, departed this life. In the fall. 
General N. B. Forrest took possession of Hopkinsville, and such a 
skeedaddling of Union men had never been known up to that time. 
One hundred and fifty or two hundred of them gave up their homes, 
and, on foot, began the journey to Henderson, mostly through' the 
woods and corn-fields of the intervening country. Among that num- 
ber was general B. H. Bristow, who, in after life, " barely escaped " 
receiving the Republican nomination for the presidency of this great 
country. This hungry, hard looking army of Union refugees came 
into Henderson about five o'clock in the morning, and it has ever 
been an unsettled question which was the worst frightened — the women 


and children of Henderson, or the Hopkinsville braves. Captain 
Holloway ordered his company out for the purpose of giving them a 
warm reception, but finding they were refugees, fleeing from, and not 
seeking a scrimmage^ extended Ifiiem a hearty welcome. They were 
soon safely and comfortably quartered in the Elam & McClain fac- 
tory, on. Second Street. A story told by one of the party, will suffice 
to give an idea of the frightful ordeal the refugees underwent in 
making the trip from their homes to Henderson. It was a rule the 
Pilgrims adopted, never to camp at night near the road-side, but to 
find a place a good ways off, for an exposed position they argued 
would furnish too much fun for General Forrest, whom they believed 
had forsaken all else, and was directing his whole attention particu- 
larly to their capture. 

Upon' a certain night they had selected the center of a large field 
of corn in Webster County, in which to camp, and about midnight, 
when all was quiet, the sentinels gave the alarm that Forrest was ap- 
proaching. In the shortest possible time, the whole camp was up and 
fleeing in opposite directions, every fellow for himself, leaving their 
camp equipage, including extra coats and pants, to the mercy of the 
enemy. In a short time they were humilated to find that they had 
surrendered their camp to a flock of sheep, which had found a gap in 
the division fence, and were rushing pell mell through the dry corn. 
During the aight they were gathered together again, but it was never 
known how many were missing. It is an actual fact, said the 
narrator, " We believed we heard the bugle call, and the rattle of 
sabers coming down through the corn, when really, it was nothing 
more than that flock of sheep." Generarjames M. Shackelford, now 
a citizen of Evans\ille, was in Henderson at the time, perfecting his 
arrangements looking to the organization of a regiment of Union sol- 
diers. He and General Bristow effected a union of forces, and next day 
the refugees were removed to the Indiana side of the river for a greater 
protection, where military headquarters were then and there estab- 
lished. On the tenth of October, the command having attained a safe 
strength, and having been furnished with arms, General Shackelford 
took possession of the fair grounds, near Henderson, at which place 
he established a recruiting camp. During this month and the month 
of November, Ashbyburg, in Webster County, on Green River, was 
strongly fortified by Shackelford's command, and frequent marches 
were made through the country, extending at times to Madisonville. 


The early part of October, the City of Henderson was occupied by 
the Thirty-second Indiana Regiment, Federal troops, under command 
of Colonel Charles Cruft, of Terre Haute, Indiana, and a German 
battery of six six-pounder brass pieces. 






ON the twenty-fourth day of January the river was higher than it 
had ever been known since 1847— it stood fifty-seven feet four 
inches at Cincinnati. January 17, gold was commanding 7 to 8 
per cent, premium, and forty days afterwards it had risen to 20. 
The navigation of the Ohio River, by order of General Buell, was 
placed under the supervision of the Government. Boats were allowed 
to land only at certain points specified ; all passengers were required 
to hold passes from the Federal authorities, and all freight was al- 
lowed to go forward only under a permit. 

Contrabanding was carried on to a large extent, but mostly by 
those who professed loyalty to the government. It was no uncom- 
mon occurrence any day, to see trains of wagons on the road between 
Henderson and Clarksville, Tennessee, ladened with groceries, drugs 
and munitions of war for the Confederated South. 

Quinine and amunition was smuggled in every way. June 1, 
General Jerry T Boyle was appointed Military Commandant of Ken- 
tucky, with headquarters at Louisville, and soon inaugurated a system 
of military arrests and imprisonment in the military prisons of that 
city and elsewhere. Many citizens of Henderson and Henderson 
County were seized for some alleged disloyalty and incarcerated in 



his dirty prison houses. Fortunately many of the best and leading 
men of Henderson were ardent supporters of the Union, and enjoyed 
the confidence of the Government, and, through their influence, military 
arrests were not so frequent as at other places, nor were the confine- 
ment days of those arrested prolonged if their union friends could pre- 
vent it. 


This was the great battle year, and many men from Henderson 
had enlisted in both armies. On the fourteenth and fifteenth days of 
February the desperate battle of Fort Donelson was fought, and in 
this battle were many from Henderson. There was a full company 
of Confederates, and, perhaps, as many Federals, from Henderson en- 
gaged in that conflict. There were two brothers from Henderson, 
one serving in the ranks of the Confederacy and one in the ranks of the 
Union, again there were three brothers in the same battle, one in the 
Confederate and two in the Union army. There were classmates, and 
former bosom friends arrayed against each other, and this made those 
wicked days more sad and terrible to comtemplate. Henderson of 
course was aroused, and on Thursday afternoon, when the great guns 
of the Confederate water batteries and the mortars on board of the 
Federal gunboats were engaging each other in a frightful artillery duel, 
the thundering roar was distinctly heard in this county, though per- 
haps an hundred miles. away. The intense uneasiness manifested by 
relatives and friends at home concerning those engaged at Donelson 
was not relieved until the news of the battle and surrender had been 
received. Cyrus Steele, of the Twenty-fifth Kentucky Federal, who 
fought opposite to his brother, Ollie, of the Confederates, was mor- 
tally wounded and died a short time afterwards. Lieutenant John G. 
Holloway, Jr., was badly wounded in the hand. 

At the meeting of the 1862-63 terms of the General Assembly, 
an act was approved, apportioning the State into nine Congressional 
Districts. District No. 2 was composed of Christian, Hopkins, Da- 
viess, Muhlenburg, Henderson^ McLean, Ohio, Hancock, Breckenridge, 
Grayson, Butler and Edmondson, 


One of the noblest men of his day, died of heart disease, on the 
train, between Louisville and Frankfort, while en route to represent 
Henderson County in the General Assembly of the State. Hender- 
son was now occupied by Federal troops, under the command of Colo- 
nel John W. Foster. The Sixty-fifth Indiana Mounted Infantry, un- 


der command of Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Johnson, was stationed 
in what was then known as Alves's Grove, now one of the prettiest 
improved portions of the city. This regiment was engaged scouting 
and campaigning through this an*d adjoining counties, and oftentimes 
came in contact with the regular Confederates and guerrillas. During its 
term of service, many Confederate soldiers voluntarily surrendered and 
took the oath of allegiance, while many more were captured and many 
killed. Hosts of political prisoners were arrested and confined in the 
Court House — Foster's military prison. Terms of surrender were 
made easy, and very many soldiers, and others who were suspected of 
being soldiers, took advantage of the opportunity to make friends with 
the Government. Horses were captured and stolen in large numbers 
and sold on the streets afterwards. Money was reriuired of manv men 
who surrendered, and there are a number of knowin": ones who char^^e 
openly, that the Commandant of the Post, Colonel Foster, pocketed 
the bulk of the proceeds, as perquisites of his office. Colonel Foster 
was, by no means, popular with those who differed with him politically, 
yet it was an acknowledged fact, that he was keen-witted in all he un- 
dertook, and a most excellent executive officer. 

On the twenty-sixth day of April, Jeptha M. Dodd, former editor 
of the Reporter, and Postmaster under Buchanan's administration 
with thirty-four others, was sent to Camp Chase, in Ohio, upon the 
charge of having been Confederate soldiers. During that time. Colo- 
nel Foster generally had in his prison from twenty-five to fortv pris- 
oners all the while, some of whom he would cause to be released 
when all doubt in his mind was removed, but most generally sent them 
on for further examination. The prison would hardly be emptied be- 
fore there were others brought in to take their places.. 

Foster's negro order. 

May 20, Foster issued his first order concerning the negro race. 
It was as follows : 

^•* All negroes coming into the district of Western Kentucky from States 
south of Tennessee, and all negroes who have been employed in the service 
of rebels in arms, are declared captives of war. It is ordered by the com- 
manding general that all such negroes in the Counties of Hancock, Daviess, 
McLean, Henderson, Union, Crittenden, Livingston, Lyon, Caldwell, Webster 
and Hopkins be collected at Henderson and furnished quarters and subsis- 
tence. Chaplain James F. St. Clair, Sixty-fifth Regiment, is charged with the 
execution of this order." 

In May, orders were issued from the VVar Department, authoriz- 
ing General Boyle and the Governor to recruit men for the Federal 
service. The terms offered recruits were exceeding liberal, and as a 


consequence, many Kentuckians enlisted. During that month a com- 
pany of horse thieves passed through the county, claiming to hold au- 
thority from the Federal Government for pressing horses for service in 
Gen. Rosencranz' Army. Many horses were taken, and bogus vouchers 
given. June 18, the following order was issued from Post Headquar. 
ters : " Merchants and other persons in this city, who shall sell goods 
'or commodities of any description whatever, to the amount of ten dol- 
lars, without obtaining a permit for the same from the Provost Mar- 
shal, shall forfeit the same and be held under arrest. 

This order was rigidly enforced, and those who now read it, may 
judge of the annoyance and vexations merchants in those days had to 
undergo. Each county was expected to furnish its quota of men for 
military service, and if they declined to volunteer, then the required 
number had to be made up by what was known as the draft. July 14, 
the enrollment of Henderson County was completed by C. M. Pen- 
nell, and the county divided into two Militia Districts. The divid- 
ing line commenced at the intersection of Water and Second Streets, 
ran out to Canoe Creek, thence with that creek to the Knoblick Road, 
thence with said road to Webster County. The names of the en- 
rolled were to be placed in a wheel and tickets drawn therefrom, un- 
til the quota was made up. Whenever a name was drawn, the per- 
son answering to that name was drafted, and could furnish a substi- 
tute, escape to Canada or the South, join the army and serve in the 
hospital, or fight, just as he should elect — but one or the other had to 
be done. 

Owensboro was the headquarters of the conscript fathers, or draft 
officers, and during that time the town was literally overrun with men 
afflicted in more ways than bad ever been known to the medical pro- 
fession before, or has ever been known since. 

Many Henderson County men were drafted, but none ever did 
service. Some furnished substitutes, while others could not be found. 
To make a long story short, it was perhaps the most exciting and un- 
easy time ever witnessed in this section of the State. 

At the August election this year, Henderson Precinct polled only 
one hundred and eighty-two votes. The polls were controlled by the 
soldiery, and most men preferred to relinquish the right of suffrage, 
rather than submit to the dictates of an insolent, ignorant set of men, 
who were moved and governed by sharpers of the dominant party. 

August 30, the remain's of Captain James A. McClain, one of the 
most gallant and noble young men of the age, who was drowned near 


Buffington Island, in the Ohio River, while endeavoring to escape 
with others of Morgan's command, were received in Henderson and 
buried. * 


This eventful year was ushered in with " the cold Friday," which 
is still remembered by the inhabitants of the Ohio Valley country. 
It was said that the first day of January, 1864, made its appearance 
under conditions identical with those of " cold Friday." The mercury 
on the afternoon of December, 1863, stood 45°. A snow storm fol- 
lowed during the night, and -^-radually subsided as the cold wind in- 
creased, blowing a hurricane from the west, and on the morning of 
the first of January, the volume of cold had sent the mercury, in the 
open air, from 45° above zero, to more than 20° below. During this 
winter, coal sold at twenty-five cents per bushel, and was not abund- 
ant at that price. 

In addition to Foster's Regiment, Major Shook and Lieutenant 
Yarber, with their little cavalry commands, were stationed on Court 
Hill. This annoyance, to say nothing of the filth, associated with 
it, induced County Clerk Y. E. Allison, to remove the county records 
to the second story of the brick adjoining Vogel's confectionary, on 
the southwest corner of Main and Third Streets. During the summer 
Colonel Foster converted the Public Square into a horse pound, where 
he had stables erected sufficient to accommodate several hundred 
head of horses. 

August 4, the first negro troops landed at the town. 

About four o'clock Saturday morning, April 11, an incendiary 
stole the key to room No. 22, of the Hord House, then the Hancock 
House, kept by William P. Fisher, and set fire to the bedding in the 
room. The devouring element commenced its work, and gathered 
strength in volume as it raged on, until near daybreak, having burned 
through the floor into room No. 5. Mrs. Hancock, wdio was occupy- 
ing an adjoining room, came near being suffocated. The fire was dis- 
covered by Marshal W. W. Catlin, and through the heroic efforts of 
him and others, the flames were extinguished. 

During this month negro thieves were numerous, and frequently 
forced the slaves to the opposite side of the river. 


On the ninth day of April, while the tobacco stemmeries were 
working a full fo ;ce of colored hands, five gunboats and one trans- 
port steamer, anchored in front of the city. The colored people were 


soon apprised of it, and were fearfully alarmed, lest they were to be 
pressed into military service and carried away. As a general thing 
they were averse to going. . Many appealed to their owners and em- 
ployers, as to what they should do, and were told to do as they pleased. 
On this advice they scattered, many of them taking to the woods. 
Hundreds of them were seen stalking rapidly through the hot sun, in 
the endeavor to avoid being forced away from kind masters and good 
homes, to imperil their lives for a cause they knew but little of, and 
cared less. 

Seeing the gunboats, and knowing of the villainy of one Col- 
onel Cunningham, in his piratical negro-stealing expedition into Union 
County onlv a few weeks before, slave owners were forced to the un- 
pleasant conviction that force was to be used by ihe government 
to rob and plunder them. I'he commander of the fleet *on landing 
was informed of ihetfue state of affairs, whereupon he addressed 
the follo\vin2^ commj.niication to the Mayor of the city : 

'• U. S Gunboat 'Moose.' Henderson, Ky., June 9 IS64. 
'' There seems to be a general impression that the gunboats are cruising 
up and clown the river running off negroes and the like, consequently when a 
gunboat m;ikes hor appearance, all the citizens aie thrown into a state oT ex- 
citement and run their negroes back into the country. I would inform the peo- 
ple that the gunbo.its are on no .such mission, nor will any vessel or officer un- 
der my command toucli, intcrlere with , or molest the per.sons or property of 
peace ul citizens in any way whatever. 1 trust, in future, this fear and ex- 
citement will be dispelled, for I can assure you, that on the part of the navy, 
you need have no fear of molestation, so long as you remain loyal to the Gov- 
ermncnt of the United States. 

L?:R0Y fitch. Lieutenant Commander, 
Commanding the Tenth District Mississippi Squadron. 

mayor's RESPONSE. 

" Henderson, June 9, 18'34. 
•* Leioy Fitch, Ueutenant Commander, etc: 

•' Sir — 1 have received yours of this date, and think the assurances it con- 
tains will have a most happy effect in this community. 

" Very Respectfully, D. BANKS, Mayor." 


The following from the Henderson "News," of June 21, fur- 
nishes another evidence of the afflictions Henderson was heir to : 

" On last Saturday night. June 18, about eleven o'clock, a force of twen- 
ty-five mounted rebels, under command of Captain January, entered the city 
and proceeded to the store of G, A. Mayer, Son's, and demanded an en- 
trance. Mr. G. A. Mayer, who resides over the store, knowing resistance to 


be useless, sent down the key by his Httle daughter. The rebels then entered 
the store and appropriated eight shotguns and a lot of spurs, pocket-knives, 
cartridges, etc. After satisfying themselves with plunder, they went to Khlon- 
in^^er's grocery and obtained food, liquor, etc , and then departed from the 
city. During their stay, three of the number proceeded on foot, to the Union 
House, northeast side.of Second, between Main and Water Streets, and kept 
by Martin Schneider There was no one in the bar i-oom, save Mr. Schneider, 
his barkeeper and Colonel Jim. Poole, of the Kentucky Militia Two of the 
three invaders stationed themselves on each side of Poole and one behind him. 
Poole was at the bar drinking and laughing. One of the rebels coolly asked 
him if he was Colonel Jim. Poole, to which he answered, " I am'" Then, 
sir, said his interrogator, " You are my prisoner." Poole stepped back against 
the counter, and drawmg his revolver, answered, "I reckon not." Almost 
immediately three shots we.e fired. Pool's pistol did not explode the first time, 
and one minute had hardly expired, ere from nine to twelve shots were rap- 
idly exchano-ed. The three rebels then hastily reti-eated. Poole advancing un- 
til near the door, when he sunk on one knee. Mr. Schneider ran forward and 
caught him in his arms, asked: " JhTi., are you killed.?" Poole answered, " I 

believe so they have got me this time" — and immediately expired. Next 

morning Coroner John C. Stapp held an inquest." 

Henderson News, July 12: " On last Wednesday evening, July 6, about 
6:30 o'clock, a gang of twenty-one or twenty-two guerrillas invaded the city, 
and the following is a list of their heroic ' military necessity ' exploits. 
On inoffensive non-combattants, watches, rings, &c. from Wm. Steele. I300 00 

Goods stolen from D. Hart's store - i.S 00 

s' " " P Hoffman's store 450 

" «' " Bernard Baum's store ,. 1500 

" «' " N. Heyman's store 3000 

" '* '■ N. Schlesenger's store 28 00 

«' " " F. Morris & Co., stoi-e 1500 

Total *'407 ."^o 

"In addition to the above, these delectable warriors went to the packet 
steamer General Hallock, and the clerk bemg absent, removed the iron safe 
out of the office into the cabin, and attempted to break it open. The clerk re- 
turned, and opened it for them, when they secured a roll of greenbacks and 
made off. A gunboat hove in sight, and the chivalrous jewelry thieves scam- 
pered away in a hurry. The whole posse forced themselves that n'ght on 
Mr. John Hicks, seven miles from town, where they behaved in a most dis- 
graceful manner. 


"On Saturday July 7, Captain Dick Yates, with a rebel force, paid a visit 
to the farm of Esq. John E. McCallister, six and one-half miles from the 
city, and demanded three of his horses, one being a fine favorite stallion. Mr. 
McCallister declined giving up his property, and seized his double-ban-el shot- 
gun. Tavo of the party threw themselves upon him in order to wrench the 


gun from liis hands. In the scuffle Mr. McCalHster was thrown violentl , his 
body striking on the stock of his gun breaking two of his ribs. 

" They then tied hini in bed where he remained until the arrival of his sis- 
ter, Mrs Ben Talbott, in the night, when at the peril of her own life, she un- 
tied the ropes which bound her brother." 

By this time Henderson County was completely overrun by guer- 
rilla bands; there were no Federal troops in the county, so of course, 
they were at liberty to do as they pleased. Over one-half of the dry 
goods held for sale in the city, were removed to Evansville, or Louis- 
ville, for safe keeping, and the following firms closed their houses : 
William S. Holloway & Co., James E Rankin, Morris & Co., H. 
Schlesinger, A. E. Gerhardt, B. Baum and J. C. Allen. All of the 
horses of any value were sent to Evansville for safe keeping. Hen- 
derson, commercially speaking, was as dead as a post, and one could 
walk six squares during the middle of the day without meeting, and, 
perhaps, without seeing a human. Of course this condition of affairs 
did not long exist, and was all brought about by the shooting of Mr. 
James E. Rankin, by guerrillas, and the subsequent shooting of two 
vouno[ men sent here froni Louisville — in retaliation. 

"On Friday, twenty-seventh, the News says : ' Eight guerillas captured 
the Ovvensboro and Henderson mail carrier at Hebardsville, broke open the 
mail sack, took what there was of value in it. and then helped themselves to 
what goods they wanted from the stores of that place. They crossed Green 
River at Calhoon's Ferrv, and when thr«e miles from Green River, they stop- 
ped Mr. W. C, Priest and robbed him of twelve dollars. They next plun- 
dered a grocery store nearby belonging to a Mr. Long. From this point a 
portion of the gang returned to Curdsville, where they robbed the citizens of 
two hundred and fifty dollars in money. At FJebardsville they robbed 
Messrs Trice & Hatchitt of five hundred dollars in greenbacks and a 
horse worth eighty dollars. On that same day twenty or more o^' another 
party passed through the lower edge of Henderson.'" 

On the morning of the twenty-seventh the large flouring and grist 
mill of Mr. James Hatchitt, near his residence on the Owensboro 
road, seven or eight miles out, was burned to the ground. There 
was a considerable amount of wheat in the building, and altogether 
the loss was estimated at twenty-five thousand dollars. On the same 
morning a frame cottage residence at the lower end of Main street, 
and near the Catholic Cemetery, occupied by Major William R. Kin- 
ney, was set fire to by an incendiary and burned. 

Thursday, August 4, Major Walker Taylor and Adjutant Chinn, 
of Colonel Lee Sypert's command, came into the city bearing a flag 
of truce, which they displayed from the rear end of Clark's factory 
to the gunboat " Brilliant," then commanded by Captain Charles G. 


Perkins, and lying in the Ohio immediately in front of the city. Cap- 
tain Perkins sent out a boat, and in a short time the two rebel officers 
were ushered into the Captain^s headquarters. A consultation was 
held and protracted' until Friday evening, when the two officers, ac- 
companied by Lieutenant Herron, of the "Brilliant," were ordered 
by Captain Perkins to report to Lieutenant Commander Fitch, then 
lying off the Port of Evansville. 

The true intent of this meeting was not known outside of the 
immediate circle interested. 

On Friday evening, about seven o'clock, the whole town was 
thrown into an intense state of excitement by the arrival and disem- 
barkation of one hundred and sixty negro soldiers, commanded by 
white officers. Such a sight had never been witnessed before, and 
not knowing the object of their visit, or apprehending their approach, 
every citizen was more or less alarmed- These troops took posses- 
sion of the Court House. Apprehension of an early attack from 
the rebels was entertained by every one, and on short notice the ar- 
chives of both clerks' offices were removed from the building. At 
ten o'clock next morning all of the drays and wagons of the city 
were pressed into service to remove the plunder, including picks and 
shovels, from the Court House, to a high^ and isolated bluff on the 
river bank, directly in front of the present bridge office, at the inter- 
section of Water and Fourth Streets. The soldiers were provided 
with picks and shovels and set to work throwing up earth works and 
fortifying the bluff against any attack from the rebels. Here they 
were engaged until the evening when the officer in command received 
orders from Louisville to evacuate and proceed to Owensboro. The 
steamer " Echo," coming up, w^as made to land and take aboard this 
sable command and their picks and shovels. It is due to say, that 
the officers and men of this command were more pleased with the 
order removing them, than were the citizens, for it was generally be- 
lieved that an attack would have been made by a large force that 
night, and, perhaps, half of the colored troops slaughtered. 

It was said, and subsequent history affirmed the belief, that Gov- 
ernor Dixon, Mayor Banks, and Mr. W. B. Woodruff were instru- 
mental in having these troops removed. So certain was it that an 
attack was to be made Saturday night, very many of the citizens had 
left for the country during the day. Judge Y. E. Allison notified the 
public that he had removed the county records to the " City Bank " 
building, on Main Street, then standing where Johnson's barber shop 
is now located. 


The steamer " Echo," which came up the river and carried away 
the colored troops, had on board the following gentlemen, who had 
been seized by the Federal military as hostages for some Union men 
who had been captured by the guerillas . Caswell D. Bennett, after- 
wards Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of this district, and 
Judge William P. Fowler, Judge of this Judicial Circuit during the 

The regular election for sheriff was held on the first day of Au- 
gust. The vote of Henderson District amounted to only five hun 
dred and eighty-five votes, distributed as follows : William G. Nor- 
ment, one hundred and twelve; Henry C. Kerr, one hundred and 
eighty-one, and William S. Hicks, two hundred and ninety-two. This 
was the first fair election held for some time, but nevertheless there 
was a very small vote polled. 

About this time the Reporter suspended publication, as a sort of 
military necessity. 

On Saturday, the thirteenth, Colonel Adam R. Johnson with 
his command arrived within three miles of the city, and great fear 
was entertained lest he would come in and the citizens be the losers 
thereby, for the gunboat " Brilliant " was lying directly in front, an- 
chored broadside, with her guns bearing upon the defenseless place. 
A committee of citizens waited upon Captain Perkins, of the " Bril- 
liant," to ascertain if it was his design to fire upon the city. Captain 
Perkins stated that he had no desire to imperil the city by fire, and 
thereby render houseless the women, children and non-combatants, 
but that he had imperative orders to fire upon it if it was occupied 
by rebel troops. The committee then went forthwith to see Colonel 
Adam R. Johnson, but he was absent from his camp. A communi- 
cation was left, and on Monday morning the following reply was re- 
ceived : 


August 13, 1864. \ 
'•To the Citizens of Henderson, Ky.: 

'* I am just in receipt of a communication to the effect that the Federal 
commander of the gunboat had notified the citizens of Henderson ' if any ot 
my men came into Henderson that he would shell the town,' and requesting 
me not to send any of my command to town. This request I cannot comply 
with. So long as Henderson remains ungarrisoned I shall send my men into 
the town whenever I deem the interest of the Government requires it. The 
shelling by the Federal commander will be uncalled for, unless an attack be 


made upon the gunboat. Whenever depredations are committed by men un- 
der my authority you may rest assured I shall have them severely punished. 

:«. " Respectfully, 

Colonel Comm'g. C. S. forces Southern Ky. 

'* P. S. — I do not expect to occupy the place or use it as a garrison. 

"A. R.J " 

Colonel Johnson did not come into Henderson, but on that 
morning sent in a flag of triice, carried by Officer Thomas Watson, of 
Henderson County, who held a consultation with Captain Perkins and 
Lieutenant Little, of the " Brilliant,'^ at the Hancock House, in ref- 
erence to two of the robbers who were with the invading party at 
the time Mr. James E. Rankin was shot. Colonel Johnson had cap- 
tured these two men, calling themselves Captain R. Yates and Cap- 
tain Jones, and now offered to surrender them to the civil authorities. 
They were subsequently surrendered to D. N. Walden, Sheriff of 
Henderson County, who took them before Judge C. W. Hutchen, who 
opened his court to give them a preliminary hearing upon the charge 
of robbery and also as accessories to the shooting of Mr. Rankin. 
Captain Perkins, in command of ten marines, came into court and 
demanded the men in the name of the United States, when Judge 
Hutchen very good naturedly complied by directing the sheriff to 
turn them over. The men were then marched to the river in charge 
of the marines and taken aboard of the gunboat. A few days after- 
wards Captain Perkins forwarded them to headquarters at Louisville 
where they were imprisoned and subsequently shot. 

The News of August 16 said: 

'■ Our city is nearly depopulated, particularly ot the young men sub- 
ject to conscription or draft. As for ourself, we intend to remain until the 
last day of grace, believing that prudent council and patient endeavor can yet 
save Henderson from the flames," 

'* Colonel Adam R.Johnson's conscript order was soon to be 

rigidly enforced, that is, it was so said ; and every man of conscript 

age who was unwilling to leave his home for the war in either army, 

was dodging around as best he could to avoid the conscript officers. 

COLONEL Johnson's proclamation. 

" Citizens of Kentucky : 

" The alternative IS now presented to you of entering either the Federal 
or Confederate army. 

*' All persons between the ages of seventeen and forty-five, who are not 
lawfully exempt, will be required to go into service at once. You must now 
see that after the sacrifice of all that freemen should hold dear, to avoid the 


evil and save our property, that tTie one has not been rendered secure, and you 
have not saved yourself from the other, even by the sacrifice of principle and 

" Your country has been overrun by lawless bands, whose depredations are 
only equalled by the outrages of large bands of the Federal army, who neither 
feel nor have any respect for the submissionists, and you are plundered, robbed 
and murdered with impunity. How long do you intend this to continue ? To 
what depth of degradation and shame are you to be reduced before you will 
cut loose the bond of slavery and assert your rights as freemen ? Men of 
Kentuckv, are you willing to see your families reduced to the level of your 
slaves ? Mothers, can you realize an affiliation of your daughters with the 
African ? Young men, can you expect to have any claim to manhood ? Can 
you hope to share the smile or claim the love of the bright-eyed daughters of 
this famed land of beauty, while those gentle beings are subjected to the in 
suits of Yankee hirelings and negro troops ? If not, then speedily seize the 
only way to bring you true liberty and honor. Too long have you listened to 
trte siren song of the traitors of the country. Already too much has been sac- 
rificed to no advantage. Your only hope ot peace is in the success of the 
Southern armies. Not alone your liberties, but your lives, are involved in 
this issue. The moderate Union man, the Democrat of the North, as well as 
the Southern soldier, wall all owe their lives and liberties to this result. 

" I appeal to you again, as I did two years ago, to rally and strike a blow 
for the freedom of your country. 

"Commanding Confederate forces in Southern Kentucky." 

The whole country surrounding Henderson was in a tumult of. 
excitement, and intense anxiety was impressed upon every non-com- 
batant countenance. 

On the seventeenth Generals Hughes and Hovey, with six hun- 
dred of the Thirty-sixth and three hundred of General Willich's bri- 
gade, all re-enlisted Indiana soldiers, with four twelve-pounders, left 
Evansville for Union County to intercept the rebel chieftain, and, if 
possible, to drive him from the country. 

Arriving at Mt. Vernon, the command was reinforced by a large 
force of Warrick and Posey County Home Guards, with three more 
cannon. Most of these troops were finely mounted, many of them 
on horses, which had been sent to Evansville from Henderson for 
safe keeping, and, by the by, never returned to their owners. After 
marching through Union County, this body of wonderful troopers came 
into Henderson Saturday morning the dirtiest looking set that had 
been seen, bringing with them a perfect army of cattle which they 
had " captured,^^ several captured buggies and their drivers, a great 
many captured teams and their drivers, a number of horses, fifty-seven 


negroes^ two rebel prisoners, six or seven citizen prisoners and one 
wounded Home Guard as relics of the raid. The Generals fixed 
their headquarters at the Hancock House, while the soldiers took 
possession, with the cattle and Blher evidences of military ardor, of 
the public square. A number of these scattered over the city com- 
mitting petty thefts and otherwise insulting citizens. The horses 
(many of them owned in Henderson) were quartered at the various 
livery stables and fed, while the citizens, with their accustomed hos- 
pitality, invited the tired soldiers to dine at their tables. In the 
evening all of the soldiery, with the exception of one hundred vete- 
rans of the Thirty-sixth Indiana, left by steamers for Evansville. 
Those remaining took possession of the Court House. Next morning 
they were recalled to Evansville. 

Previous to their departure, however, Colonel Moon, with sixty 
corps d'Afrique^ arrived for the purpose of putting down the rebellion, 
but more especially to recruit the colored men. Moon and his lesser 
satellites took possession of the bluff on the river bank, which had 
been partially fortified by a previous company. Colonel Moon re- 
mained two days, and during the time forwarded to Owensboro one 
HUNDRED and NINETY-FOUR colorcd Hcndcrson recruits. 

By this time, Colonel Johnson's conscript program had been 
defeated, but the county had been relieved of one hundred and 
twenty-five or fifty thousand dollars worth of slave and other prop- 

A party of guerrillas went to the residence of C. Sechtig, on the 
hill in the upper end of the city, and in his absence forced his wife to 
give up a shot-gun and other weapons offensive and defensive. 

The gunboat " Brilliant " let drop four or five shells in that im- 
mediate neighborhood, when the guerrillas retreated in great haste. 
While all of this military activity was being witnessed and sadly 
felt in the city, the county was not let alone, but was paying an undue 
penalty to marauding bands of guerrillas and furnishing its quota of 
stolen slaves to ruthless, unauthorized recruiting officers and thieves 
of the Federals. On September 2 a band of fifteen men entered 
the town of Spottsville and boarded the steamer " Cottage " while 
she lay in the lock. They plundered the boat and passengers of jew- 
elry, money and other valuables, and left with an estimated capture of 
twenty-five hundred dollars. 


On Saturday morning, September 10, at 11 o'clock, twenty-one 
mounted desperadoes dashed into the City of Henderson and drove 


directly to the Farmers' Bank, then located in the elegant brick now 
owned by the Presbyterian Church, on the corner of Second and Elm 
Streets. Ten of the number entered the building with drawn pis- 
tols and went behind the counter, taking Colonel Leonard H. Lyne, 
Cashier, completely by surprise. They demanded the funds of the 
bank, when Colonel Lyne told them they had been removed, but their 
leader said : " You know your duty — do it," whereupon five of the 
robbers entered the vault and five remained outside. Colonel Lyne 
went into the vault with the five, so as to preserve some valuable pa- 
pers. The robbers soon after came out laden with bags and parcels 
amounting to eight thousand four hundred and thirty dollars, all being 
on special deposit except the first item. The following statement is 
taken from the Henderson News of September 13 : 

Postal Currency, Property of the Bank $ 277 00 

John H. Lambert, gold and paper '. 3,000 00 

James T. Norment, greenbacks .• 2,000 00 

Larkin White, Kentucky money 1,735 00 

John E. M'Callister, greenbacks 600 00 

L. R. Kerr, in gold 328 00 

Hull Higginson, in gold 300 00 

Sol. S. Sizemore, in silver 90 00 

M. F. Galloway, greenbacks 200 00 

Total $8,430 00 

On leaving the Bank they visited various business houses and 
perpetrated the following robberies : 

From J. B. Tisserand, dry goods $150 00 

*' George L. Dixon, boots, etc 175 00 

" F. Millet, dry goods 50 00 

" William Wakefield 5 00 

*' HancockHouse 10 00 

Total. $390 00 

Having plundered to their hearts' content, they retired with their 
ill-gotten gain and the ill will of every citizen. Shortly after their de- 
parture, squads of men collected on the street, and many of them 
gave vent to their displeasure, in forcible language. The Court House 
bell was rung, and rich and poor, large and small, collected in the 
building, and every man and boy who could find a musket, shot-gun, 
or pistol, brought them forward. A meeting was organized, by call- 
ing Hon. Grant Gr^en to the chair, and Prof. Henry B. Parsons to 
do the duty of Secretary. A committee, consisting of the following 
•named gentleman, George M. Priest, George L. Dixon, Jesse Robin- 


son, C. T. Sanderfur, Rev. Joel Lambert and Jenks W. Williams was ap- 
pointed to draft resolutions expressive of the feeling of the meeting. 
The following was reported : 

"Resolved, That a volunteer fofce be immediately called for, and organ- 
ized, to follow, for the purpose of kiUing and capturing the band of robbers 
who were in this citj this day, and that any citizen for that purpose, is directed 
to sieze and use such horses and arms as may be necessary — the same to be re- 
turned as soon as practicable, and further, that a meeting for the purpose of 
forming a "Home Guard" be called to assemble at this place on Monday eve- 
ning. GEO. M. PRIEST, Chairman." 

Hearing that the highwaymen were yet lingering on the outskirts 
of the city, all of the citizens who had arms organized themselves 
into an impromptu company and marched a mile and a half out, but 
the marauders were not to be found. The men returned and were 
dismissed, but reappeared at the Court House at seven o'clock, where 
a large concourse assembled, and one hundred registered their names 
in the police force. During the day the Mayor had convened the 
Common Council in special session, when the following resolution 
was offered and unanimously adopted by the following vote : Ladd, 
Jenkins, Held, Tunstall, Hart and Nunn. 

Whereas, Certain lawless bands having of late made sundry raids upon 
our city, and this day having fully demonstrated the importance of united ac- 
tion on the part of the citizens ; therefore, 

Resol ed. That every able-bodied white male citizen ot Henderson be or- 
dered and required to report himself in public meeting at the Court House on 
Monday, September 12, 1864, at four o'clock P. M,, for the purpose of organ- 
izing ourselves for our mutual protection. That the meeting appoint officers 
and adopt all such regulations as may be deemed necessary. That the citizens 
be required to close their business houses at lour o'clock that evening, and that 
every person refusing or neglecting to report, as above stated, sliall he ordered 
to leave the city forthwith, under the penalty to be adopted hereafter." 

In obedience to this resolution of the Council, His Honor, D. 
Banks, Mayor, caused the following proclamation to be issued and 
circulated through the city on Saturday afternoon : 

"In pursuance of a proclamation adopted by the City Council on Satur- 
day, September 10, 1864, I hereby order every able-bodied white male citizen 
of Henderson, Ky., capable of bearing arms, to report himselt at the Court 
House on Monday, September 12, 1864, at four o'clock P. M., for the pur- 
pose of organizing for the city's protection. I also order the business houses 
to be closed at the hour of four o'clock on that evening ; and any person here- 
inbefore mentioned refusing or neglecting to report at the time and place 
stated above, will be ordered to leave the city forthwith under the penalties to 
be adopted hereafter. D. BANKS, Mayor." 


At the Saturday evening meeting of citizens, the Mayor's pro- 
clamation was adopted as the unanimous sentiment of the meeting. 
In order that the object of this meeting might not be misconstrued, 
President Grant Green addressed the assemblage to the following 
purport : 

" Citizens were recjuested to organize simply as a police force for mutual 
protection of life and property from the repeated inroads of strolling robbers^ 
It was not asked that they should participate in the unhappy war. We are all 
civilians and non-combatants in the mighty struggle going on in our beloved 
land, but we are law-abiding and capable of preserving our lives and our prop- 
erty from vagrant marauders and strolling bands of irresponsible scoundrels, 
come from what quarter they may. All citizens, rich and poor, old and 
young, are interested and invited to arm as best they can so as to be ready 
hereafter to prevent a recurrence of those black deeds of infamy which had 
darkened the fair name of Henderson abroad. One sentiment pervades our 
entire community — murder and robbery of our private citizens will no more 
be tolerated. 

''We solemnly warn armed robbers, whose only incentive is personal 
gain, whose only patriotism is self, to keep aloof from Henderson, We are 
resolved to be outraged no more.'' 

During the enrollment of men, Bernard Bibo, who had been a 
faithful soldier in the home guard service at the beginning of the war, 
and who had once more shouldered his gun in the defe'nse of his home, 
was lying on the green sward in front of the Court House, attempted 
to draw his gun toward him, when it exploded and emptied a full 
load of buckshot in the upper part of his arm, necessitating imme- 
diate amputation. This was performed by Dr. J. A. Hodge, assisted 
by Dr. Ben Letcher. As an evidence of Bibo's worth and the sym- 
pathy felt for him, a handsome subscription was made by the citizens 
and paid him. 

On Sunday night two companies of negro troops arrived and took 
possession of the Court House. This then superseded the necessity 
of any further effort at a citizen organization, and hence the initiatory 
steps toward that object were for the time laid by. 

On Sunday morning. Jack Coleman and Dan Byrnes, of Union 
County, sought out Mr. John B. Millet, of this city, who was visiting 
St. Vincent Chapel in Union County, and refunded to him what had 
been given to them as their share of the bank robbery, $225.75 each, 
expressing at the same time, their deep contrition for the robbery, 
and stated that they had no intention when entering Henderson, to 
engage in any such dirty business. On Monday morning a portion of 
this clan returned to the outskirts of the city and relieved C. A. Rudy 
of a very fine horse. On the twenty-fourth day of September, one 


hundred negro soldiers were sent to Corydon on a recruiting expedition, 
when returning were attacked by twenty rebels in ambush, and 
strange to say, very little, if any damage was done. Arriving at the 
cross-roads, or what -is now known as Geneva, one of the soldiers was 
discovered to be suffering with what was determined to be the small- 
pox, and left at a house near that place. 

The next day, or perhaps a few hours after their departure for 
Henderson, a party of rebels appeared upon the ground, secured the 
small-pox patient, and without the services of a clergyman, took him 
to the neighboring woods and there hung him. The sequel to this 
will be told in the after part of this brief history of the war. 

On Friday night three hundred rebels, under Major Sims and 
Captains Jones and Duvall, camped upon the farm of Ex-Sheriff, 
William S. Hicks, six miles out on the Knoblick Road, and the next 
morning one hundred and twenty-five of them came into Henderson. 
Dinner was prepared for them by order of the Commander in Charge 
at the Hancock House, which they ate while sitting in their saddles. 
Captain Jones ordered a few blankets from William Holloway & Co., 
but before they could pay for them, the gunboat, "Moose," hove to 
in front of the city, and the command fled to the woods. Commander 
Fitch sent a half dozen or more shells in the direction they went, but 
without unhorsing a man. 

October 25, Captain O. B. Steele had one, Hawkins, shot for 
robbing a Mr. Hicks near Corydon. On Sunday morning, November 
6, a party of rebels under the command of Jake Bennett, came into 
the city and fired a few shots at the negro soldiers who were on 
parade below and in front of the Hancock House. Dr. J. A. Hodge 
was met by one of this gang and relieved of a very fine watch. 

Since this gigantic and most unfortunate military struggle was 
first commenced, the citizens of Henderson, Union and Webster 
Counties had especially been made to feel the iron hoof of war upon 
their property and persons. It would fill a large volume printed in 
small type to tell of all the confiscations, pressings, military necessity, 
secret thefts, audacious robberies, and indiscriminate plunderings 
which were carried on in these counties during the dark and gloomy 
years of war. Both sides treated horses, saddles, arms and food from 
the beginning as public property. 





SATURDAY, January 15, Captain Sam Allen, of the Kentucky 
State troops, encountered a squad of Major Walker Taylor's 
men a few miles from the city, killing two of the Piper boys and cap- 
turing another soldier by the name of Brown. 

Colonel Glenn, who was recruiting colored troops in the country, 
accompanied a Louisville police detective to the residence of Mr. 
Samuel Williams, three miles out in the country, where they arrested 
Ham G. Williams. This arrest comes among the interesting inci- 
dents in life. The Louisville detective had for a lona: time been in 
search of a character who had committed a crime in New York, for 
which he was wanted. A photograph likeness of him was secured, 
and with this likeness the detectives set to work to effect his capture. 
Ham Williams was somewhere seen by one of these secret service 
men and shadowed until located at his home in this county. It is 
said the picture was a correct likeness of him, and hence his arrest. 
The young man was brought to the city and in a short while released, 
because he had never even visited the State in which the crime 
was committed. He was amused at his arrest, while the detective 
was disgusted at the wonderful similarity of faces of men born and 
reared so many miles apart. 


On the evening of January 24, the young men of Henderson 
gave a charming dance in the dining room of the Hancock House, 


About twelve o'clock, when all who could were engaged in the beauti- 
ful turns of the waltz, the roar of musketry and the boom of cannon 
were heard coming from the direction of Court Hill. Soon after, bullets 
were whistling over the roof of the hotel, while others penetrated its 
walls and windows. This so alarmed the dancers that many of them, 
in fact all who could, congregated on the back porch seeking shelter 
behind the walls of the house. Some of the more gallant of the men 
rushed to the front to discover the cause, but soon rushed back to 
escape the flying bullets. This firing was kept up for ten minutes or 
more, when it ceased, and then it was told around that guerrillas were 
in the city, but the truth was, the young men had refused to invite 
Col. John Glenn and his Captains and Lieutenants, commanding the 
negro troops, then quartered in the Court House and on the hill. 
This disgraceful proceeding on the part of the soldiery so enraged 
the union men of the town, that Col. Glenn's subsequent residence in 
Henderson was anything but pleasant to him. During the attack on 
the hotel no one was injured but Glenn, he was shot in the neck, 
after ten or more attacks upon the bar room, and fell gloriously shout- 
ing with his martial cloak around him. Jt was no uncommon thing 
during those trying times for a citizen to be awakened in the dead 
howr of the night by bullets whistling through their windows, breaking 
glass and tearing plastering in their reckless course. No citizen felt 
safe either upon the streets after twilight or in his residence. As a 
general thing, a more unmitigated unscrupulous set of ruffians and 
uncultured scamps were never known to disgrace a Federal uniform. 
On the seventh day of February a great number of country gentlemen 
came to town, some on business and some to hear the news. During 
the forenoon this same Col. Glenn, under the pretense of driving off 
a band of guerillas of whom he claimed to have knowledge, ostensibly 
for the purpose of driving the colored men off of several adjoining 
farms into his camp, sent out a company of soldiers and pressed every 
horse to be found in the town. In a very short time afterwards the 
streets were filled with soldiers galloping here and there on citizens' 
horses, cursing and threatening at a most furious rate. On the ninth 
day of February Captain Ollie Steele came to the fair grounds with 
thirty men, and was pursued by Captain Sam Allen, of the State 
troops, a few hundred yards below where the greater part of his men 
laid in ambush waiting for Allen to pass by. Below this place they 
had built a fence across the road where Allen was forced to halt, then 
taking him in the rear, they held him at a serious discount, and before 
he could extricate himself, Steele's men had captured seven of his 


men, and had the others fleeing in every possible direction. February 
28, an act of the Legislature was approved, authorizing the County 
Court to employ fifty men as a poJice patrol and guard, for protection 
against guerrillas and outlaws, and to levy an ad valorum tax for 
their payment. If this law was complied with the records fail to show 
it. March 1, a new majesterial and voting precinct was established, 
to-wit : 

'• That all that part of Henderson County embraced within the following 
boundary, viz: Beginning at the White Lick on Highland Creek, thence 
down the said creek to the bridge near Todisman farm, thence on a straight 
line to the Beaver Dam bridcre on the Madisonville and Mt. Vernon Road, thence 
on a straight line to Mrs Sarah Brooks', including her farm, thence east to 
the line of the Henderson & Nashville Railroad, thence with the said railroad 
to the line between Henderson and Webster Counties, and thence to the 
beginning, be and the same is laid off and constituted a district for the election 
of Magistrates, and a voting precinct. The voting place to be at Mrs. P. C. 
Sutton's, and the election to be held May following, for two Magistrates and 
one Constable. " 

On the second day of March, a portable engine engaged in driv- 
ing a saw mill upon the farm of Governor Archibald Dixon, two and 
one-half miles above the city, exploded its boiler, killing Alex. Dor" 
sett and a negro boy, throwing Joseph C. Dixon with great violence 
some twenty-live yards, scalding his face, and badly scalding and 
otherwise injuring and wounding Robert A. Alves. 

March 3, Elder William Steele's residence was enter-^.d under the 
the pretense of looking for Captain O. B. Steele, and robbed of every 
valuable to be found in it by Captain Partridge, a military incompe- 
tent, and a company of negro soldiers of Col. Glenn's regiment. 
During this month an act was passed by the Legislature and approved 
by the Governor, incorporating the *' Henderson Petroleum, Mining 
and Manufacturing Company," composed of Richard Stites, William 
A. Hopkins, Charles F. Hopkins, James B. Lyne and James H. Hoi" 
loway, with power to open salt and oil wells, and coal, iron and other 
mineral mines in the counties of Henderson, Webster and Union, and 
any other parts of the State where they might acquire territory. If 
this company ever struck oil, they have steadfastly kept that greasy 
fact a secret. At this time the oil craze had absolutely seized the 
State, numerous borings were started in Henderson and Union, and 
so far as is now known a S7nell was secured once or twice, but 
never enough oil to grease the spindles of a bicycle. 


On Sunday afternoon, March 12, one of the most willful and 
horrible murders ever perpetrated in the State was the shooting of 


John N. Wathan by a squad of Colonel Glenn's negro troops. A few 
days prior to the shooting, Martin L. Daley, a loyal citizen of Union 
County, the home of Wathan, was requested by him to come to Hen- 
derson and ascertain if he would be allowed to take the oath and re- 
nounce his allegiance to the Confederacy. 

Mr. Daley visited Henderson, as requested, and called upon 
Major Shook, Post Commandant, Thomas F. Cheaney, Military Pro- 
vost Marshal, being confined to his bed at the time. Major Shook 
gave Mr. Daley a safe passport for Wathan and agreed to meet him 
on Sunday, the twelfth instant. In accordance with this safe pass- 
port, the citizen and soldier came to Henderson the twelfth, accom- 
panied by William H. Wathan, a brother of the soldier, who wished 
to surrender and take the oath. They called, as agreed, upon Major 
Shook, who sent an escort with them to the residence of Provost 
Marshal Cheaney. After hearing the case, Mr. Cheaney administered 
the oath to Wathan and gave him a printed safe conduct, with his 
sisfuature attached. This was about four o'clock in the afternoon. 
The three then returned to the hotel to prepare for their return to 
Union County. About six o'clock the two Wathans and Daley 
started, and while riding along the road near the residence of Hon. 
H. F. Turner, in the lower end of the cit}^, were ha.lted by a 
squad of Colonel Glenn's negro troops, coming down the road in a 
sweeping double quick. The three men halted and waited the ap- 
proach of the troops. Upon coming up they immediately ordered 
the two Wathans to dismount, which they did. Then they took Wil- 
liam Wathan aside to shoot him, when one of the negroes announced 
that he was not the man. They then stood John N. Wathan in the 
road, about ten paces off, and notwithstanding he exhibited his safe 
conduct from the Provost Marshal, at the command of one of the 
negroes, several shots were tired at him, and strange to say he was 
unscathed. He then turned and ran in the direction of the river. 
Daley ran his horse alongside of the doomed man, endeavoring to 
protect him, while William Wathan ran in the opposite direction. Wa- 
than attempted to mount Daley's horse, but failed, so closely was he 
pursued by the fiends in Federal uniforms. Finding that he was 
soon to be overtaken, he ran around Daley's horse toward a fence, 
but before he could mount it, the devils had surrounded him, when 
one of them approach(|d and felled him to the ground with the butt 
of his gun. After falling, a volley was fired into his body, and the 
poor, unfortunate man lay a mangled, gasping spectacle before his 
murderers. One of the men then ran up to Daley and fired at his 



head, but, missing him, broke the stock of his gun on the hip of the 
horse Daley escaped and returned to the Hancock House. 

This villainous procedure, pgrpetrated on the Sabbath, rekindled 
the outraged feelings of the populace, and Colonel Glenn and his 
understrappers were severely criticised. 

It will be remembered that in a previous part of this chapter, 
mention has been made of the hanging of a negro, left with the small- 
pox by Glenn's troops, at the cross-roads, on their return from a raid 
to Corydon The negroes who did this foul deed, claimed that they 
knew Wathan, and that he was one of the men engaged in that hang- 
in- and for that they took revenge. Of this, however, the truth was 

never known. 

Colonel Glenn promised to hold a rigid investigation, but this 
one, like all of his other promises, went by default. The body of 
voun^ Wathan was brought to the city, where it was neatly coffined 
and next dav taken by his friends to his home in Union County. It 
was said that his mother (Mrs. Nettie Wathen) became, for a tmie at 
least, deranged from grief. 

The citizens of Henderson had borne under the outrages of the 
Federal brute, who commanded the negro soldiers, just as long as 
thev could afford, and something had to be done. He was a drunken 
outiaw, and not the equal of a man of his command. No one re- 
spected him, and nothing less than an honest desire to keep the 
peace and submit to the authority of the Government, even though 
it be Administered bv drunken tyrants, kept them from admmistenng 
to him the same dose his cowardly soldiers gave to poor Wathan. 

A short time orior to this last outrage, General Eli H. Murray, a 
Kentuckian, a most gallant officer and cultured man, had been as- 
signed to the command of this Department, with headquarters at 
Russellville. The writer, who had been associated with General 
Murray in the earlv part of the war, took upon himself the task of 
writing that distinguished commander k full and detailed account of 
the course of Glenn and his men, and begging that he make a short 
visit to Henderson and investigate for himself. 

In answer to that letter, General Murray reported in person at 
the writer's house on Sunday morning, March 19. After bathing and 
chancin- his dress, he went to the Hancock House, registered his 
name, and established temporary headquarters in one of the rooms 
in the frame part of the building. During the day he was visited in 
the parlor by very many citizens, including Governor Dixon, W. B. 


Woodruff, Ben Harrison, D. Banks and W. S. Holloway, all of whom 
.had but one and the same story to tell. The General evidenced con- 
siderable chagrin towards Glenn and his captains, and was not mealy 
mouthed in so stating to his visitors. He repaired to his room, don- 
ned his uniform, and sent for Glenn to report immediately. 

The meeting between the two will long be remembered, for the 
excoriation that Glenn received from his superior was withering in 
the extreme. The cowardly poltroon was never so humble, and when 
disrobed of the paraphernalia of office, he became an object of pity. 
He stood in one corner of the room trembling in his glossy-legged 
boots, drawn over his pants, his belt, sash, sword and side arms taken 
from him, the very picture of guilt and infamy, in durance vile. 
General Murray's words pierced him through and through, and when 
told that he would be sent to Louisville a prisoner to be there tried 
by Court Martial, his wicked heart seemed to sink within him. 

Nor was Captain Wright, at whose instance poor Wathan had 
been murdered, treated with any more leniency. Both men were 
sent away to Louisville, Wright in chains. One, the Colonel, was dis- 
missed from the service, while the other would have been hung had 
he not made his escape fr^om custody. The regiment was ordered to 
leave the city and go in camp at the Fair Grounds, and the officers 
notified what was expected of them. 

A short time after General Murray's return to Russellville, and 
at his instance, the whole command was ordered out of Henderson 
County, to the delight of every citizen, Union or otherwise. 

On April 7, Captain B. Watson, of Major Shook's Kentucky 
command, attacked Jake Bennett's guerrillas, said to have outnum- 
bered him three to one, at King's Mills, wounding three horses, one 
man, and capturing a Lieutenant Hickerson, who, it was said, was 
with the squad that murdered Mr. Rankin. 

On the ninth day of April, General Robert E. Lee surrendered 
his army in Virginia, and then pardons were wanted by the wagon 
load. A great many Confederates came in voluntarily and surren- 
dered, among the number. Captain O. B. Steele, and many of his 

On Saturday, April 16, the news of the assassination of Presi. 
dent Lincoln was received, and thereupon Mayor Banks issued his 
proclamation, directing all stores to be closea from ten o'clock, for 
the remainder of the day, and at ten o'clock for all of the bells of 
the city to be tolled, in respect to the memory of the departed Presi- 


dent. Many merchants, although strongly opposed to Mr. Lincoln 
politically, draped their store fronts in mourning. 

Colonel William P. Gravsen, who had been captured and put 
under bond of twenty thousand dollars, was re-arrested for an alleged 
violation of his parole, and suit instituted on his bond. 

The following Confederate soldiers had come in and reported to 
Major Shook and Provost Marshal Cheaney, for surrender and pa- 
role : 

George Green, John W. Arnett, John W. Frazier. Edward G. 
Powell, William Young Watson, John A. Gaines, James M. Lewis, 
Mitchell D. Denton, John H. French, Orlando F. Walker, John D. 
Gobin, George H. Rankin, Paul J. Marrs, William Lockett, Jr., J. A. 
Denton, G. B. Spencer, John R. Dixon, Pressly Prilchett, A. H. Po- 
sey, George Gibson, George Robertson, David L. Boswell, Ambrose 
McBride, Horace McBride, Joseph F. King, John R. Bailey, O. B. 
Steele, W. P. Grayson, George Robinson, Thomas Pritchett, George 
Gibson and John Walker. 

Lieutenant Colonel Tom Campbell, of the Seventeenth Kentucky 
Cavalry, came to Henderson and established a Horse Pound, in 
which he soon had every horse of value to be found in Henderson, 
and its immediate surroundings. Many of these horses were re- 
turned free of charge, while some of them were bought back. Some 
of them were never returned. 

He organized an Illinois raid, having learned of an established 
band of horse and mule thieves, whose ramifications extended 
throughout Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky. Through the 
treachery of one or more of the clan. Colonel Campbell became cog- 
nizant of their villainy. 

A young man, who had been induced to join them, piloted Camp- 
bell to their rendezvous, and pointed out members of the organiza- 
tion. Captain Goard and Lieutenant Hampton, passing from Madi- 
sonville, through Webster County, shot old man Browning and his 
two sons. At Shawneetown, Illinois, two more were shot. At Sa- 
line, three more were shot. Three Quinns and one Davison, of 
We'ister, were shot. At Mt. Carmel, Illinois, five more were shot. 
Among these were a son of the Carlisles, of Webster County, and 
some other relatives and friends. 

The Carlisles swore vengeance against Campbell and his men, 
and after the war, as it is well known by many readers, the Carlisles 
and one Dr. Davison, did murder Lieutenant Hampton opposite 


Owensboro. and were subsequently captured and sent to the peniten- 
tiary for life, but some years afterwards pardoned. 

During the month of July the notorious Colonel Sam Johnson, 
with his command of Federals, entered Henderson, and were but a 
short time in making themselves obnoxious. His first step was to 
suppress, for a time, the Henderson News, a paper which had done 
more, perhaps, to suppress the guerrillas than Johnson and all of his 
men, for, be it it said to his credit, Mr. Harrison, editor of the News, 
was unflinching in his devotion to good government, and a terror to 
both sides who departed from that rule. He had no mercy upon 
guerrilla bands, who plundered and stole, and the only wonder now 
is that he had not been butchered by some of the very men with 
whom he was accused, by Johnson, of being in sympathy. 

The August election coming on, Johnson's next step was to ar- 
rest leading Democrats, solely for the purpose of frightening others 
more timid away from the polls. Hon, John Y. Brown was arrested 
and placed on parole by this distinguished chieftain, but released im- 
mediately after the election. , 

The News, early in August, announced that not over a quarter 
crop of tobacco would be raised in the county owing to the drouth in 
May, and excessive wet weather after that time. The price of to- 
bacco ranged then from twelve dollars and fifteen cents to seventeen 
dollars and fifty cents. 

August 23, the mustering officer and paymaster of the Kentucky 
troops arrived in Henderson, for the purpose of paying off and mus- 
tering out of service Major Shook and his command.* This was the 
first time this little company of patriots had ever been paid, yet they 
faithfully performed their duty, and had never, during their long stay 
in Henderson, given any of the citizens cause to complain of them. 

The war was over now, and the people of the south had 
acknowledged the supremacy of the national arms, and expressed 
their desire to be restored to their original rights, under the laws and 
constitution of the country. The vanquished "Sons of the Sun" had 
shown their devotion to the cause which they espoused upon many a 
weary march, and through all the trials incident to the condition of 
well and long sustained warfare. They had illustrated their lineage 
and their genious in the camp, on the march, in battle, and wherever 
the shiftings and perilous scenes of their brief but diversified career 
carried them. The boys in blue had done the same, and were now 
ready to lay aside the sword and gun, and meet their brotheis of the 
South on hospitable ground, drink to the health of a restored union. 


and forever bury all past differences; but the programme was made 
out, and the first actor made the grand entree in the person of the 
before-mentioned Col. Samuel -^Johnson, a broken down divine of 
small consequence. He came clad in the unstained and untorn 
uniform of his country, with a guard of U. S. soldiers armed with 
pistols and sabers. He made a great speech, in which he left the 
field of legitimate discussion, to denounce personally, citizens of the 
county who stood high in public esteem, because they opposed the 
radical teachings of the party in power. He anathematised the con- 
servative party, and heaped abuse upon its advocates. He ruled the 
Hon. R. T. Glass off the track for the Legislature, and did many 
other unwarranted acts before he was called away. A few days before 
the election, the One-Hundred and Fifty-third Indiana Regiment 
landed, and with the exception of a small guard, encamped at the Fair 
Grounds. Hon. John Y. Brown, as before stated, was placed under 
guard just as he was going to the country to fill an appointment. In 
the city, officers and soldiers were present at the polls, detectives were 
busy upon the streets, applying their infamous avocations, cannons 
were stationed in the streets, and at intervals during. the day belched 
forth their threatening thunder. One piece of artillery was stationed 
at the corner of the street nearest the voting place, the people unheed- 
ing the military demonstrations and the illegal oath which was 
offered, and which they were obliged to take before depositing their 
votes, thronged to the polls. "The cannon was removed to the other 
corner of the square, in sight of and ce*imanding the voting place. 
The people still pressed forward to vote, every means short of actual 
violence being employed to paralyze the will of the people. But all 
was in vain, while hundreds were deterred from voting, from fear of 
arrest, subsequent annoyence and ill treatment, there were enough 
brave and determined men in the county to carry the election for the 
conservatives by over seven hundred majority. 

Now our scarred and gallant veterans were returned to the walks 
of private life, our rent and battle-stained flags were given over to a 
nation's keeping, but our poor old Court House, a towering temple of 
which we were all proud, was a dilapidated, miserable skeleton of a 
concern. The exigencies of " Military Necessity " had con\erted it 
into a prison for rebels and citizens of the county. Next the colored 
troops took possession, and at last it became the barracks of the 
Kentucky volunteei force. It was built for a temple oi justice, but 
its brick walls, once bright red, paled at the scenes of tyranny and in- 
justice which transpired within and around them. Its ceilings and 


chambers, once almost classical from the associations and memories 
of former times, had become disfigured and defaced by a rude soldiery. 
In these chambers had rung the eloquence of John J. Crittenden, 
Richard Thompson, of Indiana, Humphrey Marshall, Thos. L. Jones, 
John W. Stevenson, Thos. C. McCreary, Josh Bell, Governors 
Magoffin, Dixon and Powell, Crockett, Dallam, Turner, Hughes, Cis- 
sell. Cook, McHenry, Jackson, Yeaman, Brown, Vance, Glass, Kinney, 
and other gifted members of the bar, but since the sounds of eloquence 
had died away in the old temple, its walls had echoed ribald blas- 
phemy, and the billingsgate of reckless men and prostitutes. Wanton 
destructions had torn and dismantled it, and the protecting fold o^ 
the star spangled banner, which had long floated over its rotunda had 
at last been removed, and lo ! the result of the protectio7i^ — all of the 
fencing around the grounds had been destroyed, the shrubbery worse 
than mutilated, and inside the building, the benches, stairs, window 
frames, sash, partitions, etc., all demolished, something had to be 

December 18, 1865, an act was passed and approved, authorizing 
the County Court to levy and collect ten cents additional upon the 
one hundred dollars for biylding and repairing the Court House, and 
paying the indebtedness of the county. In due time the dilapidated 
old building was again made as good as new. 

At a meeting of the citizens of Henderson County, held in the 
city on December 29, to consider the subject of labor, John G. Hollo- 
way was appointed Chairman, and George M. Priest, Secretary. The 
following resolutions \vere reported by John H. Barrett, Isom Johnson, 
James D. Hatchitt, F. Cunningham and S, J. Alves, and endorsed by 
the meeting : 

"■ Whehkas, The subject of labor is one of vital importance to the peo- 
ple of our community, now, in order that our views on this question may be 
rightly imderstood, we state without fear of contradiction, that for the last 
y ^2iV, \z}oor \\di% co\x\vc\^x\di^dihighir prices here W-\z.v\ in any part of the United 
States. This meeting is not intended to do the laborer any injustice, for we 
are willing to pay full compensation for all that is done for us, but prices here- 
tofore paid being most unreasonable, we feel that it would be to our 
interest to do without labor, rather than pay most exhorbant rates for it. Such 
farmers and tobacconists as have paid the past high prices, have been losers 
thereby. The wages should be fair and reasonable between the contracting 
parties, and uniform throughout the community, 

Besolved, That we are willing to pay prices equal to the highest rates 
paid anywhere where the same kind of labor is used, and for the same purpose, 
and while we do not propose to establish prices, tior bind any person bj our 
action, to conform to our views upon the subject, yet at the present prices of 



the products of the farm, and with the certainty of still lower prices, we are of 
opinion that one hundred and seventy-five dollars per annum for men, and 
seventy-five dollars per annum for women, (without incumbrance), for year 
round work, and proportional prices for boys and girls for farm labor, and cor. 
responding prices for other kinds of labor, is as much as we can afibrd to pay, 
the hirer to furnish good, wholesome provisions, fuel and quarters, and the 
laborer to pay for necessary medical attention, furnish his own clothing, and 
deduct for loss of time. And we pledge ourselves to a faithful and honest com- 
pliance with any agreement we may make with the laborer, and we will duly 
respect and protect his interests and rights while in our employ." 

Much of the history of the war omitted in the preceeding pages 
will be found in the sketch of General Adam R. Johnson, Captain 
Ollie B. Steele, and Colonel James H. Holloway, while under the 
head of " Sketches and Recollections,'' several incidents, both painful and 
interesting, will be found. 


This year dawned upon a peaceful country, and a people deter- 
mined, by honesty, industry and frugality, to regain their pecuniary 
losses. The war had scourged them, indeed it had robbed many men 
of their means of subsistence. They had borne patiently with thieves 
and scoundrels and foraging parties of both armies, and thanked 
God that their lives had been spared. Society had greatly changed ; 
a great deal of that old-fashioned hospitality, for which Kentuckians 
had been so proverbial, had now to give way to hard business, hard 
work and scrutenizing economy. Old-time friends had become es- 
tranged during the wicked strife, a love for money had taken the 
place of unrestrained sociability, a Northern idea of living possessed 
the greater part of the people. Slaves were now as free as the winds, 
and homes which were once presided oyer by the mistress, with her 
half-dozen servants to answer every call, now presented altogether a 
different scene, for the immediate members t)f the family were com- 
pelled to do that which a few years before, they had ordered done. 
People learned to live hard and close, and after many years of this 
great change of life, it is safe to say Henderson County is in a better 
condition to-day than ever before. 

It is due to the colored people to say that, under the circum- 
stances attending the radical change from slavery to freedom, the 
great change of becoming their own masters, and toiling for their own 
support, in place of having the cares of life to devolve upon masters, 
their behavior surprised their most sanguine friends, who had viewed 
the situation with anxious solicitude. They came into this new life as 


thouo^h they had been fdrilled and tutored for months; they accepted 
the situation with a becoming grace, and while some few were disposed 
to behave unruly, the great majority behaved like men of sense and 
character, settling down to the realities of life, and going to work to 
build up themselves and growing families / 

January 25, a branch of the Freedman's Bureau had been estab 
lished in Henderson, and Thomas F. Cheaney appointed Superinten- 
dent. This institution was a sort of a stand between the colored man 
and his employer. Contracts were made for labor, and one of the 
duties of the Superintendent was to see justice done both parties. 
Organized at the time it was, and honestly and judiciously managed 
as it was in Henderson, the system was more of a blessing than other- 
wise. Worthless colored people were controlled, and vagrant negroes 
forced to seek and obtain employment. 


On the thirtieth day of January, the magnificent steamboat 
" Missouri," while racing with the " Silver Moon," blew up in the 
county a few miles above Evansville and when near the mouth of 
Green River, completely demolishing the frame work of the boat, and 
killing many of her passengers and crew. This accident happened 
about ten or eleven o'clock at night, and daring most of the day fol- 
lowing, pieces of the wreck were seen floating by the wharf. 

A large sheet of one of the boilers was blown several hundred 
yards into the woods on the Henderson County side. 

An act was passed directing the Circuit Court to be held on the 
first Mondays in March and September, and to continue for thirty 
days each. 

February 12, Col. John W. Crockett was arrested and taken to 
Louisville, on the charge of treason, but was soon released. 

March 15, an organized band of robbers appeared in the county 
and raided several farms for the purpose of robbing returned colored 
soldiers. They were successful in several instances, but were finally 
driven out by officers of the law. 

June 7, the Henderson and Union Petroleum Company struck oil 
at their well on the head waters of Highland CreeV, at a depth of 
four hundred and fifty feet, but from the best information to be had 
the unloosed gas rushed out with such force, it blew all of the oil out 
of the well, and the company collapsed. 

September 20, Elder William Steele reported having joined in 
marriage, within the last twenty years, three hundred and thirty 
couples, ten of this number married at his office, five at his residence, 


and two on the bank of the Ohio, standing under an umbrella. In 
three instances he married the same party twice. He married four 
couples in one day. His fees ran from thanky to twenty dollars, and 
in one case he married a gentleman said to be worth eight or ten 
thousand dollars, who declined paying him anything, because, he said 
- Sail is sickly, and I can't afford it." The Elder also reported that 
one-fourth of the number were dead at that time. 

September 20, " Neptune " was on a bender, to the serious detri- 
ment of the river bottom farmers. The river was out of its banks, 
and tobacco and corn in the low lands were greatly damaged, in many 
instances totally destroyed. 

The Fair Company having been re-organized, the first fair tor 
many years was held, commencing Tuesday, October 2. Necessary 
preparations for this fair were rapidly made, and under many disad- 
vantages, yet the success which attended the meeting was very grati- 
fying to the new company. 

On the thirteenth, Saturday morning, eight prisoners broke the 
jail and effected their escape. Two escapades had been effected 
prior to this time, notwithstanding the jail was a new one. 

The proposition to build the Henderson & Nashville Railroad, 
which had agitated the people along its line for many years prior to 
the war, was again revived. Under the old management an agent of 
the company had proved unfaithful to the trust imposed m him, in 
this- He was sent to Europe for the purpose of negotiating a loan 
by the use of man.y thousands of the company's bonds. About tne 
time he arrived in Europe the war between Russia and Turkey broke 
out, and a short time afterwards the terrible storming of Sebastopol 
occurred. This agent viewed the situation, and seeing, as he thought, 
a great harvest of profit to be reaped from an investment in Irish po- 
tatoes, onions, etc., purchased him a ship, and then the potatoes 
and onions, and started for the Crimea. It has never been known 
whether he adopted this plan for the purpose of placing the bonds 
for the benefit of the company, or whether he intended pobketing tor 
himself the principal and profits of his huge speculation. 

His ship went out upon the high seas and rode the waves in ma- 
iestic splendor, but a landing place for his fresh provisions could not 
be found. After so long a time rocking and rolling with the waves, 
a loud aroma came up from the hull of the vessel, when it was dis- 
covered that his cargo had decayed and become worthless. Ihe 
bonds were gone for a mere song, and the potatoes and onions for 


These bonds were held by English capitalists, and were good 
against the road. It was necessary that something should be done 
to recover them either by compromise or purchase. 

So, in 18G(), General Jerry T. Boyle, representing a syndicate, 
sailed for Europe, and succeeded in securing enough of the " potato 
and onion" bonds to give those whom he represented a controlling 

Returning to the United States with his bonds, suit was immedi- 
ately instituted in the Christian County Circuit Court, by E. G. Sebree 
and others, against the Henderson & Nashville Railroad Company, 
to foreclose the mortgage and to subject the road and its fr..nchises 
to sale. 

At the January term, 1867, a decree directing the sale of the 
road to take place on the twenty-third day of February, 1867, in the 
city of Hopkinsville, was rendered by the Chancellor. In accord- 
ance with this decree, Hon. John Feeland, Special Commissioner, 
advertised the sale, and on the day appointed a large number of in- 
terested parties assembled at Hopkinsville. H. B. Hanson, of New 
York, became the purchaser of the road at and for the small sum of 
twenty thousand dollars. 

Hanson that day, or a few days afterwards, for a consideration, 
transferred his purchase to a company of gentlemen, no doubt organ- 
ized at the time of sale. 

An act was then secured incorporating the Evansville, Hender- 
son & Nashville Railroad Company, and the purchase transferred 
to that company. General Jerry T. Boyle was "elected President. 
Jerry T. Boyle, John P. Campbell, E. G. Sebree, George M. Priest, 
and Dabney O. Day, Directors. 

The new company set to work to build the road in the stereo- 
typed way, soliciting donations and subscriptions of stock. 

Henderson became wild over the outlook. Many of her people 
were willing to tax themselves beyond redemption, for the privilege of 
listening to the toot of one whistle, or the lattle of one set of car 
trucks. "A railroad, my kingdom for a railroad," was the cry. 

An act was passed by the Legislature authorizing counties, cities 
and towns along the line of this road to tax themselves by peti- 
tions, signed. Petitions were circulated in Henderson, and the 
necessary majority soon secured. General Boyle was in a great hurry, 
and so were the people ; but the City Council chose to go slow. Dif- 
ficulties existing between the company and the city were adjusted, 


and soon thereafter one hundred thousand dollars of eight per cent, 
bonds, and two hundred thousand dollars of seven per cent, bonds 
were directed to be printed, sigiaed and delivered to the custodian 
appointed by the city, as Henderson's ''donation'' to the building of 
this o-reat enterprise. As an inducement, or bait, Henderson was to 
o-et for her three hundred thousand dollars in bonds, three hundred 
and sixty thousand dollars in common stock, and, as a greater induce- 
m.ent, the taxpayer was to receive twenty per cent, additional on the 
face of his tax receipts in stock. After hard work the bonds were 
placed at a price making them equal to a ten per cent, security, and 
verv soon thereafter, the money all spent and more wanted. 

Henderson County was approached and enticing bait offered, but 
the magisterial fish refused to bite. It was evident that something 
had to be done. There was no money to pay interest on the bonds 
of the company for which the road had been mortgaged, and finally, 
after triggering around, a company called the American " Contract 
Company," organi/ed under the laws of the State of Pensylvania, 
came along and took a lease for a certain number of years, and, in 
the course of time, completed the road. 

March, 1869, the iron was laid to Madisonville, and one consign- 
ment to a Henderson merchant was twelve hundred dozen eggs. 

May 20, a grand barbecue and festival was given by the city and 
citizens to the people along the line, at the Fair Grounds, in honor of 
the completion of the road to Madisonville. Several years after the 
completion of the road, by a majority vote of the stockholders, at a 
meeting held in Hopkinsville, a consolidation was effected with the 
St. Louis & Southeastern Road, running from Evansville to St. 


The line was then known as the St. Louis & Southeastern, con- 
solidated. Several years ago the St. Louis & Southeastern con- 
solidated became, by purchase, the property of the Louisville, Nash- 
ville & Great Southern, and, since that time, has been known as 
the Henderson & Nashville Division of that corporation. This di- 
vision has increased its business under the new management, until 
now it is known and regarded as one of the most important roads in 
the country.* 

January 29, an act of the Legislature was passed creating John 
Funk, George M. Priest, W. C. Howard, William M. Lockett, John S. 
McCormick, John Rudy, John N. Lyle and H. F. Turner, a body cor- 
porate under the name and style of the Henderson Fair Company, 


February 5. an act was passed and approved, establishing in this 
Judicial District a Court of Justice, to be known as the Court of Com- 
mon Pleas^ to hold annual sessions in January and July, of eighteen 
judicial days each. 

In August, Caswell D. Bennett, of Smithland, Livingston County, 
was elected Judge Common Pleas, and held the first court the following 

During the early part of February the citizens of Henderson 
were furnished coal, in small installments, as a great favor, for the mod- 
erate sum of fifty cents per bushel. 

A bill to re-apportion the State into Senatorial Districts was re. 
ported in the Legislature and passed. The Fifth District under the 
act was composed of the counties of Henderson, Union and Webster. 

February 27, an act was passed making the provision of the me- 
chanics' lien law, passed February 17, 1856, apply to Henderson 

On the same day an act was passed authorizing the County Court 
of Henderson County to levy an ad valorem tax of twenty cents on 
the one hundred dollars, and a capitation tax of two dollars, and also 
to borrow the sum of twenty-five thousand dollars for the purpose of 
repairing and rebuilding the public buildings, made untenable by the 
ravages of the war. This act repealed the act of December, 1865. 

The Ohio River at this time only lacked a few inches of being as 
high as it was in 1848. 

The News of February 26 said of the high water : 

" The classic village of Shawneetown is totally submerged, Uniontown is 
metamorphosed into a miniature Venice, and two peeping spires mark the spot 
where Casey ville ought to be." 

March 9, an act was passed authorizing the County Court to elect 
a General Superintendent of the Roads, "who shall hold his office 
for the term of two years." 

March 14, a daily river mail between Louisville and Henderson 
was established. 

During this year a Board of Southern Relief was established, 
and through their instrumentality, great quantities of supplies were 
sent South. 

Taxable property this year for the county, $6,740,162; white 
males over twenty-one years of age, 2,201 ; children between 
six and twenty years of age, 2,988 ; pounds of tobacco raised in 1866, 
6,067,180 ; tons of hay, 10,583 ; bushels corn, 591,980 ; bushels 
wheat, 17,600. 


August 1, the steamboat " Cora S " sunk at the bar below the 
city. Her cargo was brought to the city. 

September 23, a new subm^ine cable was laid across the Ohio 
by the Henderson & Evansville Telegraph Company, Jacob Held^ 
President and Superintendent; E. L. Starling, Secretary. Every 
dollar of the stock of this company was owned in Henderson. 

The annual fair this year was quite a success, and in recogni- 
tion of President John Funk's services, he was presented at its close 
with a handsome silver service by the directors. Hon. John Young 
Brown delivered the presentation address. 

On the twenty-first day of November the Ovvensboro & Hen- 
derson Telegraph Company was completed, and a few weeks there- 
after was consolidated with the Henderson and Evansville line. 

November 27, Rev. W. G. x\llen, a noted Presbyterian divine, 
and former pastor of the Henderson Church, was killed at Morgan - 
field, by his horse falling upon him. 

November 31, Engineer F. H. Crosby ascertained by actual 
measurement, the difference between the high and low water mark to 
be forty-three feet. 

The assessment for U. S. Internal Revenue this year was $8, 


February 5, an act was passed and approved, authorizing William 
McClain's o-reat land sale bv lotterv. The Commissioners created 
under the act were David Banks, Grant Green, William S. Holloway, 
E. L. Starling, William S. Elam and Robert T. Glass. 

February 5, an act was passed, dividing the State into four Ap- 
pelate Districts, under this act Henderson became a part of the Fourth 
District. M irch 6, the State was divided into sixteen judicial districts. 
Under this appointment Henderson, Livingston, Union, Webster, and 
McLean formed the Third District. 

March 6, A. H. Major, John H. Stanley, Harbison Butler, Fran- 
cis E. Walker, William McClain, George Atkinson, Archibald Dix'on, 
John K. Smith, Hugh Tate, A. B. Barrett and Andrew Circles, were 
incorporated under the name and style of the " Horse Shoe Bend 
Ferlce Company." 

March 9, an act was passed changing the term of the Common 
Pleas Court, directing them to be held in June and December of each 
year, twenty-four, in place of eighteen days each. At the same ses- 
sion the time of holding the Circuit Courts was changed to March 
and November, and thirty days allotted to each term. At the same 


term fifteen hundred dollars was appropriated for the pur}x>se of 
erecting a monument over the grave of the lamented Governor L. W. 
Powell, the amount to be expended by his excellency, Governor John 
W. Stevenson. 

On the same day an act was passed incorporating the " Hender- 
son Running Park Association," and authorizing subscription books 
to be opened by Jackson McClain, William M. Lockett, James Alves, 
G. L. Compton, S. K. Sneed, N. C. Howard and Samuel W. Rankin. 
On the same day an act was passed incorporat ing the Green and Bar- 
ren River Navigation Company. By the terms of this act, those great 
commercial thoroughfares were given to that company for a mere 
song, and from six months after that day to this, the shippers and 
people along the two rivers have found just cause to complain. 


March 9, an act was passed authorizing the County Court to ap- 
point additional processioners, not exceeding two in each voting pre- 
cinct of the county. 

March 15, an act was passed incorporating the Henderson & 
Hartford Railroad Company, and granting George M. Priest, Robert 
G. Beverley and R. T. Glass, of Henderson, together with others 
along the proposed line, all the power and authority incident to such 







'!—• ENDERSON County now contained by the Federal census, eleven 
l) thousand, seven hundred and seventy-nine natives, and six hun- 
dred and eighty-eight foreign whites, and five thousand, nine hundred 
and ninety blacks, making a total population of eighteen thousand, four 
hundred and fifty-seven, an increase since the census of 1860, of four 
thousand, one hundred and ninety-five. From 1860 to 1870 the in- 
crease of the negro population was only one hundred and forty-six, 
while the increase of the whites was four thousand and sixty-two. 

On the second day of January of this year occured the heaviest 
snow fall ever known in the State, reaching in many places a depth 
of from three to four feet. 

March 21, an additional voting precinct was established. Hen- 
derson Precinct, under this act, was divided into two precincts, called 
Upper and Lower, Third Street becoming the division line. 

The State Fair Association held its annual meeting at the grounds 
of the Henderson Fair Company this year, commencing October 4. 

August 1, the colored population legally qualified, exercised the 
right of^suffrage for the first time. Great fear was apprehended, but 
th"e election passed off as quietly as any that had ever preceeded it. 

At this election the " Road Tax " proposition was submitted, 
and carried by a majority vote of the people. The first levy was 
made at the October Court of Claims, two dollars upon each person 


legally bound to work upon the roads, and ten cents upon the one 
hundred dollars worth of property ad valorem. Two-fifths of this 
amount was set aside as a sinking fund for the purpose of taking up 
the bonds of the county. 

Thursday, July 7, William McClain's great land sale drawing 
took place in " Weisiger Hall," Louisville. Ticket No. 8,553, owned 
by Dennis J. McLaughlin, a carpenter, of Brashear City, Louisiana 
drew the capital prize, consisting of river bottom land of the finest 
character, valued at one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, and ten 
thousand dollars in cash. 

Ticket No. 7,175, owned by Robert Hunt and Frank Karesner, 
of Louisville, and others, drew the second prize, consisting of river 
bottom land valued at thirty thousand dollars, and five thousand dol- 
lars in cash. 

The third prize, valued at thirty thousand dollars, was drawn by 
H. Brown, of Mobile, Alabama. 

The fourth prize, valued at thirteen thousand dollars, was drawn 
by Lieutenant Governor, Thomas P. Porter, of Versailles, Kentucky. 

December 4, several prisoners confined in the county jail, effected 
their escape. 


The first ten days during the month of February, the two banks 
of the city, the Farmers' and National, paid out in tobacco checks, 
six hundred and fourty thousand dollars, of this amount the Farmers' 
Bank paid four hundred and fifty thousand, and the Henderson Nat- 
ional one hundred and ninety thousand dollars. 

On the thirtieth day of December, a proposition to subscribe for 
five thousand shares, of fifty dollars each, to aid in building the South 
Kentucky Railroad, was submitted to a vote of the people, and as 
usual with Henderson County, easily and most gracefully defeated. 
The South Kentucky has never been breathed from that day to this. 


February 6, the Legislature repealed the act of February 27, 1867, 
authorizing the county to levy an ad valorem tax for public uses, and 
in lieu of that, enacted a law authorizing the county court to issue 
and sell her bonds, to an amount not exceeding forty thousand dollars 

March 18, an act to lay the State off into ten Congressional 
Districts was passed. Under this apportionment, Henderson, Daviess, 
Hopkins, Muhlenburg, Ohio, McLean, Christian, Webster, Union, 
and Hancock Counties formed the second district. 


The road law having been adopted by the people, and a tax cre- 
ated for the purpose, at the February term of the County Court, a 
motion was made to elect for th^e first time under the new law, a 
Superintendent of Roads. The court was pretty evenly divided, as 
will be observed by the following vote : 

Those voting in the affirmatives were Turner, Toy, Shelby, Grif- 
fin Cooper, Parker and Pritchett, (7.) Those negative, were Royster, 
Priest, Farley, Denton, Long and Gibson, (6.) The motion was de- 
clared adopted. J. T. Wilson was elected, and an order passed di- 
recting him not to expend exceeding three thousand dollars upon the 

roads of the county. 

March 28, an act was approved incorporating the Evansville & 
Jackson Railroad. The incorporators from Henderson were Henry 
F Turner, E. L. Starling, W. A. Hopkins, George M. Priest, E. W. 
Worsham, Joseph Adams and Leonard H. Lyne. Quite an amount 
of wind work, and perhaps some practical work has been indulged, 
looking to the building of this road, but at this time there is no pros- 
pect for its early completion. (See Ohio Valley Railroad.) 

. January 18, an act of the General Assembly was approved, incor- 
porating the St. Louis Catholic Cemetery. 

March 28, Captains A. O. Durland, Charles G. Perkins, E. O 
Boyle and St. John Boyle, were incorporated under the name and 
style of the Evansville & Henderson Railroad Packet Company. 


April 23, an act was approved, having for its object the settle- 
ment of the boundary line between the State of Indiana and this 
State. The unsettled boundary begins at the head, of the Island, 
known as Green River Island, opposite, or nearly so, the mouth of 
Green River, running thence in a direction down the Ohio River to 
the lower end of said Island, upon a line dividing said Island a.Vd the 
State of Kentucky, from the State of Indiana. 

Many years ago, even in ordinary high water, steamboats passed 
down the schute between this Island and what was then known as the 
Indiana shore, but annual sediments, and the rapid growth of willows 
and cottonwoods caused the chute to fill up, until at this day it has 
become valuable as farming lands. Kentucky claims up to the corpo- 
rate limits of Evansville, under the United States survey made at the 
time Indiana was admitted into the Union of States, but since the 
change made by annual high waters, there has been a dispute between 
the two States as to the correct boundary line. Under the act of 


April 23, the Governor was authorized and directed to select a com- 
missioner, a practical surveyor, who was to be a resident of Kentucky, 
to act with a similar commissioner from the State of Indiana, to carry 
into effect the provisions of the act. David N. Walden, of Hender- 
son, was selected by the Governor, and August Pafiflin, of Evansville, 
Indiana, by the Governor of that State. These commissioners, guided 
by old papers in their possession, proceeded to make a close and ac- 
curate survey. They were careful and painstaking, and after weeks 
of hard work, succeeded in agreeing upon the line, and caused stones 
to be planted marking the survey. On the fifth day of March, 1878, 
this survey was ratified by the Kentucky Legislature, but upon com- 
ing before the Indiana legislature, was rejected, and there the matter 
has stood from that day to this, so far as any settled understanding is 


January 31, the Collins School District, in the Hebardsville 
Precinct, was established by law. 

On the nineteenth day of February, an act was approved, appor- 
tioning the State into thirty-eight Senatorial Districts. Under this ap- 
portionment, Henderson and Union became the Fifth District. 

February 17, the jurisdiction of Quarterly Courts was extended 
to two hundred dollars. 

The summer of this year will be remembered by river bottom 
planters as the one most destructive ever known in the history of the 
country. On the seventh day of August, the whole bottom country, 
bordering on the Ohio and Green rivers, was inundated and remained 
so, long enough to completely destroy the growing crops of corn and 
tobacco. Al] the tenants and renters were completely ruined, while 
landlords had to content themselves with the loss of rent and .any 
amounts they had advanced. It was a most destructive year, and but 
for the liberality of land owners, great distress would have followed. 

February 6, the great hurricane passed through the county 
sweeping houses and timber before it. 

February 25, an act was passed by the Legislature incorporating 
William Soaper, H. P. Randolph, F. T. Crutchfield, George L. Ro- 
bard-s, Charles Elliott and G. B. Martin, under the name and style of 
the "Walnut Bend Fence Company." 



March 20, an act was passed and approved exempting citizens liv- 
ing north of Green River from the two dollars per capita tax, and of 
ten cents on each one hundred^.dollars worth of property, now assess- 
ed and levied as a road tax ; but they were required to work on the 
roads of that district under the rules governing road services before 
the act of March, 1869, went into effect. 

An act, entitled "An Act for the protection of sheep in Hender- 
son County," was passed at the same term. This act required the 
Assessor, in taking lists of taxable property, to list all dogs, and upon 
each dog should be levied and taxed two dollars, and on each bitch 
the sum of three dollars ; provided, the party or parties so assessed 
should be permitted to own one dog, or one bitch, upon which no tax 
should be levied or assessed. The amounts arising from this tax was 
directed to become a part of the white school fund. It was further 
enacted that any person owning, having or keeping any dog or bitch 
should be liable to the party or parties for all damages done by these 



March 11, an act was passed making it unlawful for any one to 

throw, or cause to be thrown, any logs or trash into the creeks of the 


March 15, an act was passed reducing into one the acts relatmg 
to the roads of the county. It directed the division of the roads into 
precincts, and the apportionment of surveyors to let them out to the 
lowest and best bidder, commencmg Monday, April 1. 

At the same term, John T. Handley, J. S. Wilhoit and W. B. Pen- 
•tecost were incorporated under the name of Jonathan Lodge, I. O. 

O. F., No. 152. 


The tenth census credits Henderson County with a population of 
twenty-four thousand five hundred and fifteen souls. Of this number 
sixteen thousand nine hundred and forty-three were whites, and seven 
thousand five hundred and seventy-two were blacks. Of the whites, 
six hundred and forty-four were foreigners. 

Comparing the census of 1880, with that of 1870, it will be ob- 
served that the increase in population aggregates six thousand and 
fifty-eight souls, and of this increase, four thousand four hundred and 
seventy-six were whites, and one thousand five hundred and eighty- 
two were black. 

Of the twenty-four thousand five hundred and fifteen souls m 
Henderson County in 1880, 19,967 were natives of the State, 563 of 


Tennessee, 779 of Virginia, 171 of Ohio, 1,896 of Indiana, 191 of 
North Carolina, 17 of British America, 59 of England and Wales, 154 
of Ireland, 11 of Scotland, 345 of Germany, 10 of France, and 5 of 
Sweden and Norway. 

Of the total number there were 12,646 males and 11,869 females, 
Of school, military and citizenship ages, the population was divided 
as follows : Five to seventeen years, both inclusive, 4,270 males, 
4,183 females; eighteen to forty-four years, both inclusive, 5,051 
males ; twenty-one and over, 5,700 males. 


Farms, 1,983; improved land, 146,388 acres ; value of farms, in- 
cluding land, fences and buildings, $3,666,786; value of farming im- 
plements and machinery, $142,221 ; value of liv-e stock on farms July 
1, 1880, $596,044; cost of building and repairing fencing, 1879, $49,- 
612 ; cost of fertilizers purchased, 1879, $1,220; estimated value of all 
farm productions (consumed or on hand) for 1879, $1,119,482. Prin- 
cipal productions of the county : Barley, 300 bushels ; Indian corn, 
1,680,007; oats, 27,589; rye, 3,577; wheat, 124,991. Value of or- 
chard products, $11,350; hay, 2,243 tons ; cotton, 9 bales ; Irish po- 
tatoes, 29,286 bushels ; sweet potatoes, 5,205 bushels ; tobacco, 10,- 
312,631 pounds. Live stock and its productions : Horses, 4,277 ; 
mules and asses, 2,768 ; working oxen, 108 ; milch cows, 3,577; other 
cattle, 4,660; sheep, 4,307; swine, 31,554; wool, 21,670 pounds; 
milk, 74,385 gallons ; butter, 207,040 pounds ; cheese, 230 pounds. 

March 4, an act was passed making it unlawful for any one to 
deaden timber within one hundred feet of any public road in. Hen-, 
derson County. 

April 1, an act was passed authorizing the formation of corpora- 
tions, for the purpose of constructing turnpike and gravel roads in 
Henderson County. 

April 22, an act was passed which not only authorized, but re- 
quired, the County Court to subscribe fifteen thousand dollars to 
the stock of every gravel road company, but this was to be ratified 
by the voters of the county. This act never was submitted to a 

April 15, an act was passed dividing the State into eighteen Ju- 
dicial Districts. District No. 3 was composed of Henderson^ Critten- 
den, Union and Webster. 

This act repealed the act heretofore mentioned, which established 
a Court of Common Pleas, and gave to Henderson County three 


terms of the Circuit Court, beginning on the first Monday in 
January and fourth Monday in May, and holding thirty-six judicial 
days each, and on the fourtli^ Monday in October, holding twenty- 
four judicial days.- At the January and May terms, the first two 
weeks of each are devoted to the trial of criminal causes, the re- 
mainder of the terms to the civil docket. The October term is de- 
voted to the rendition of judgments by default, and general civil busi- 


May 5, the '^Southwestern Narrow Gauge Railroad Company" 
was incorporated, and William H. Lewis, J. T. Leake and Ken Cha- 
peze, authorized to open books for the subscription of stock. This 
was thought to be a fine project, but, so far, it has failed to ma- 

On June 9 D. Banks, Jr., B. G. Witt, Larkin White, J. D. Ro- 
bards George W. White, William Hatchitt, M. M. Johnson, Samuel 
Epperson, William Soaper, Jr., O. B. Smith, J. P. Beverly, and John 
T. Bunch, filed before the County Court their articles of incorporation 
of the " Henderson, Zion and Hebardsville Gravel Road Company," 
and the same were approved by the court. 

July 7, the right of way over the road was granted, with certain 

conditions attached. . 

July 24, the company accepted the terms of the court, and, in 
a few weeks thereafter, gravel was being rapidly placed upon the 

road bed. 

On the third day of December following, the road was completed 
five miles out from the citv limits, examined, and reported substanti- 
ally built, and in good condition, by W. K. Ayer, Paul J. Marrs, and 
Dr. P. Thompson, commissioners appointed to view the work. This 
was the first gravel road built in the county, but others soon followed. 


On the twentv-seventh day of April, Harvey S. Park, William J. 
Marshall, Jackson McClain, John H. Barrett, Cornelius Bailey, 
Fielding S. Turner, J. T. Wilson, Charles L. King, George W. Mc- 
Clure, Henry Kleymeier, and William Hatchitt filed before the court 
of the county, articles of incorporation of the "Henderson and Cory- 
don Gravel Road Company," and the same were approved by the 


On the seventh day of May the right of way was granted, upon 

similar terms, to those of the Henderson and Zion road. 

June seventh, the company accepted the terms offered by the 

■ county, and commenced grading the road for the reception of gravel. 


On the ninth of July articles of incorporation were filed by the 
same company of the " Henderson and Geneva Road," and on the 
eleventh the right of way was granted. These two roads were com- 
pleted during the fall months, ready for winter travel. 

On the seventh day of May Cornelius Bailey, E. M. Johnson, S. 
A. Young, Thomas Posey, George W. White, A. B. Sights, William 
Hatchitt, fames C. Hicks, R. Scrogin Easlin and Robert Dixon, filed 
with the court articles of incorporation of the " Henderson and 
Cross Plains," and " Henderson and Cairo Gravel Road Companies." 
On the same day the right of way was granted, and on the second day 
of July the terms of the County Court, expressed in the order grant- 
ing the right of way were accepted by the company. This road, also, 
was finished in time for winter travel. 


January 15, an act was passed by the Legislature re-appor- 
tioning the Congressional Districts of the State. Under this act 
He7iderson^ Christian, Hopkins, Webster, Union, McLean, Daviess 
and Hancock formed the Second District. 

On April 22, an act creating and establishing a " Superior 
Court," known as a Court of Justice for the State, and to con- 
sist of three Judges who shall have the same qualification as are now 
required for Judges of the Court of Appeals, a co-adjutant to the Court 
of Appeals, was passed and approved. 

Under this act the First District was composed of the following 
counties: Hender'^on^ Fulton, Hickman, Ballard, McCracken, Graves, 
Galloway, Marshall, Livingston, Trigg, Crittenden, Caldwell, Chris- 
tian, Todd, Logan, Warren, Union, Webster, Hopkins, Daviess, Mc- 
Lean, Muhlenberg, Hancock, Ohio, Butler, Grayson, Breckenridge, 
Hardin, Barren, Allen, Simpson, Edmundson, Meade and Hart. 

The first election was held on the first Monday in August. 

April 24, an act to levy an additional tax of two cents, for 
the purpose of equalizing the per capita tax of the white and col- 
ored school children, was passed, and at the following August elec- 
tion submitted to the qualified voters of the county. Be it said to 
the credit of the county, the proposition carried, by a inajoj'ity of eighty- 
two votes. 

March 10, an act was passed exempting the inhabitants living 
on Green River Island from the payment of road tax of all kinds. 

April 11,~ an act was passed authorizing the County Court 
to issue bonds for the purpose of building gravel roads or purchasing 
those already built. 

April twenty-second, an act was passed to prevent stock from 
running at large in the county. This act was never submitted to a 
vote of the people, as required. 






^^HE City of Henderson, the county seat of Henderson County, 
V_y is situated on the southeast bank of the Ohio River, about midway 
between Louisville at the Falls, and Cairo, 111., at the mouth, and is 
the northern terminus of the Henderson and Nashville division of 
the Louisville & Nashville Railroad, a great through railway line, 
connecting New Orleans, Mobile, Pensacola and the Southern cities 
with St. Louis, Chicago and the East via Evansville. It is also the 
northern terminus of ^he Ohio Valley Railway, a new road now run- 
ning to Marion, the county seat of Crittenden County, and which will, 
as it is contemplated, soon be completed to some central point south 
where general traffic arrangements will be effected, whereby the 
Ohio Valley will soon be a great through route, as the Louisville & 
Nashville, and a strong competitor of that system. It is now pre- 
dicted with a degree of certainty, that justifies historical prophesy, 
that a railway will soon be completed between this city and Louis- 
ville, a road to be known as the river road. 

Henderson is one hundred and forty-five miles from Nashville, 
and is one hundred and seventy miles from St. Louis, and is the cen- 
tral point in navigation of a number of river routes, including the 
Ohio, Green, Wabash, Tennessee, Cumberland and Mississippi. This 
city was originally known as the " Red Banks," because of its high per- 


pendicular front of red soil, and was settled by Jacob and Michael 
Sprinkle, John Upp, John Husbands, John Hausman, John Dunn, 
Eneas McCallister, John Kuykendall, Hugh Knox, Abraham San- 
ders, Daniel Ashby, Jacob Newman, Edmund Talbott and a few 
others, commencing as far back as 1784. Since these brave and 
true old pioneers have laid their heads beneath the violets' bed, many 
changes have passed over earth. Since then the pioneer village be- 
came a town, and the town has grown to a city. Since then the wild 
deer has disappeared from dingle and glee, the wolf extinct, the poor 
" red man " is yet being driven into the far west, and the few remain- 
ing decendants of the proud-hearted Sachems, White Cloud and Ta- 
hante are now waging war far beyond the waves of the " Great River," 
from whose lofty cliffs the daughter of Menonemee made the "Lovers 
Leap " in history and song. Since then the " Eagle of American 
Liberty " was grasped by the robber hand of faction, dispoiled of his 
matchless plumage and plunged into the gory mire of civil strife. 
Since then the factious decendants of those who claimed that the prec- 
ious freight of the Mayflower was the Bible and the freedom, have 
scoffed at the declaration from the pen of Thomas Jefferson, and 
signed by the double pledge of life, honor and property, of old 
Charles Carroll, of Carrollton. Since then the triad of forensic heroes, 
Clay, Calhoun and Webster, have come and gone. Since then two 
Presidents of the United States have fallen by the pistols of assas- 
sins. Since then the scientific application of steam and electricity 
has startled the world. Yes, and since then empires have fallen. 
More too, if these old people could only come back to earth and wit- 
ness the work of their children and children's children, they would 
scarce believe their own eyes. 


From 1791 to 1800, Mrs. Hannah Dunn kept a sort of tavern 
and barroom at the Red Banks, and George Holloway was the pro- 
prietor of a general provision store, including whisky and millinery. 
The whisky was made in little kettle stills, but where the supplies of 
millinery were brought from in those early times no one now living 

Mrs. Dunn, true to the nature of her sex, was fond of dress, 
even though she was a woman of masculine mind and business. She 
paid Mr. Holloway the round sum of one pound ten shillings for a 
hat trimmed with ribbons and feathers, and packed salt from the 
works, a distance of twenty miles, for the money to settle the bill. 


Bacon retailed at that time at one shilling per pound, while deer and 
bear meat were valueless in price. 

Captain John Dunn operated a small hand mill, which furnished 
meal for the settlement, but .nost persons used the mortar and pestle. 
The mortar was made by splitting a short cut of a tree and hollowmg 
one end of each half and then pinning the two together with wooden 
pins The pestle was a heavy wooden instrument with an iron or 
stone wedge in the end and used by hand. Sometimes this was op- 
erated by the use of a wooden spring. . 
All of the river travel in those days was done in canoes, and it is 
wonderful with what rapidity and ease persons paddled up and down 
the river from place to place. 


In the early part of the year 1797, General Samuel Hopkins, 
agent and attorney in fact for Richard Henderson & Co., with Col- 
onel Thomas Allen, a distinguished primitive surveyor, who w& em- 
ployed bv the company, arrived at Red Banks, and proceeded to ay 
off the tiwn of Henderson, named in honor of the president of what 
was then known as the Transylvania Company, and through whose 
instrumentality the grant had been secured from the State of Virginia 
The town as laid off in August, 1797, consisted of sucty-s x square 
of four acres each, divided into lots of one acre each, making in all 
two hundred and sixty-four one-acre lots. There was also surveyed 
thirty two ten-acre lots surrounding the squares of the town. One 
Lundred and thirty-two of the one-acre lots were located above 
Street, between Green and Water Streets, commencing with the lot 
corne; of Water and First Streets as No. 1, lot corner Main and 
First Streets No. 2, lot corner Main and Second Streets No 3 lot co - 
ner Water and Second Streets No. 4, and so gn up to Twelfth Stieet. 
The remainder of the lots were located below *^.^"b''^,^,^"^'%,'';- 
ginning at the lot corner of Water and Lower First or VVashington 
Streets, as No. 133, lot corner Washington and Main No. 134, and so 
on down the river to twelfth cross street. 

In the ordinance directing the disposal of the town lots and the 
adjoining ten-acre lots the proprietors prescribed liberal terms. Gen- 
eral Hopkins was indefatigable in his efforts to advance the interest 
of his company and at the same time render satisfaction to the set- 
tiers The following is a copy of the 

^. Ordinance of the Transylvania Company, commonly called Ri'^'';'"' "^;;; 
dersonSf Co., diiecting the dispossal of the town of Hendesson and the out 



" Be it resolved ajtd ordained. That the town of Henderson and all the land, 
lots, streets, apportionments and apartments thereof, lying on the River Ohio 
in the County of Christian and State of Kentucky, as laid off and surveyed by 
our agent, Samuel Hopkins, and our surveyor, Thomas Allen, agreeable to the 
plat or form by them made and to us returned with their certificate be, and 
the same is hereby established, that is to say, two hundred and sixty-four lots, 
meted and bounded, by the several streets thereon contained, of one acre each 
and thirty -two out lot meted and bounded and marked as described in the 
aforesaid certificates, be considered as the town aforesaid, and we do hereby 
for ourselves, our heirs and executors jointly and severally, give, grant and 
confirm all the lands meted, bounded and located in the plat and form aforesaid 
by the aforesaid agent and surveyor for the purposes of the said town, to be 
disposed of in the following manner : 

'•First. We give to all those male persons and theii heirs who may have 
settled at the Red Banks on or before the first day of May, 1794, who have 
built and improved and are now residing thereat, being then free and of full 
age, or to such free persons of full age as may occupy such building and set- 
tlement at the present time under assignment of the fiist settler, one lot of 
one acre each, provided such lot be improved in the same manner, and in the 
same time as shall herein be established for those who purchase under this or- 
dinance. And whereas, a speedy sett. ement of the town lots aforesaid will, in 
in our opinion, greatly enhance the value of the lands generally. We do hereby 
declare, that the lots composing the town as aforesaid, shall be sold by our 
agent or agerits so as best to promote such settlement, either by public or pri- 
vate sale, as to them or him shall seem proper, limited only as follows : 

" That every purchaser of an acre lot shall, within two years from the 
time of purchase, build thereon a framed, hewn or sawed log house, sixteen 
feet squai'e at least, with a good dirt, stone or brick chimney and plank floor, 
or shall reside thereon by himself or representative, etc., for the space of three 
years ensuing ; provided that the residence shall commence within one year 
from the time of the purchase, and in case of failure thereof, such lot shall 
be considered as reverting, and shall revert to the company, their heirs and 
assigns, and be liable to be disposed of for the uses herein expressed as if no 
sale or occupany had ever been made or had thereupon ; provided, that such 
original proprietor or his heirs, who shall purchase any number of lots, not 
exceeding four lots of one acre each in said town, shall not be obliged to im- 
prove or reside thereon as other purchasers, agreeably to the true intent and 
meaning of this ordinance. 

" And be it further ordained and directed. That any person purchasing a lot 
of ten acres, shall in like manner be obliged to improve, either by building, 
inhabiting or tending in some crop, for and during the term of three years ; at 
least one- half of said lot to commence from the term of two years. After 
such purchase such cultivation may be at the option of the purchaser as to the 
crop, and in case of failure herein, the holder or purchaser of said lot shall be 
subject to all the penalties and forfeitures incurred by the purchaser of the lots 
of one acre each. 

"And be it ordained, That one agent be appointed to sell and dispose of 
the lots in the town of Henderson, to receive the moneys or other considera- 


tions tlierelbr, to make titles and transfers, to secure and appropriate forfeitures 
and in general to act in all things for the company according to the true intent 
and meaning of this ordinance, who Shall receive for his trouble five per centum, 
first, on all >ales, second, on all sales and collections and payments, and thirdly, 
on amercements or forfeitures that may accrue, and who shall enter into bond 
to the company for fulfilling his several duties, and in case of death, removal 
from office, resignation or refusal to act of the agent appointed, to the execution 
of this ordinance, it is directed that another be appointed, under the hands 
and seals of the copartners in Kentucky and of Henry Purviance, William 
Bailey Smitli and Samuel Hopkins, who are a majority of them, or the surviv- 
ors of them, shall make out such appointment, and take a bond for the faithful 
performance of otfice; and the commissioners aforesaid shall, at any time thev 
think proper, once in every year at least, cause the agent to produce his books 
and transactions subject to their inspection, and shall, upon unequivocal proof 
of incapacity or maltransaclion remove from oftice and appoint another in the 
manner herein prescribed. All bonds given by the agents shall be taken by 
the company, known by the name of Richard Henderson & Co. , and upon 
the forfeiture of any su h bond, the Commissioners heretofore nominated, shall 
cause the same to be prosecuted for the benefit of the company. 

"And be it further ordained, that once in every year the said agent shall, 
on application pay to each original proprietor, his private agent, attorney or 
assignee, his full proportion ot all moneys that may have been collected to that 
time, deducting from such amount only the commissions or per centum herein 
before allowed, and in case of tailure of the agent to so account and pay, or 
in case of a willful mistatement or willful wrong, such agent may be removed 
by a certificate thereof under the hands and seals of the Commissioners afore- 
said, or a majority of them, and sued on his bond by the party or parties so 

'* And wiiereas it will be necessary, That frauds be guarded against in the 
most particular manner, it is hereby declared that every person applj ing to 
the agent for monejs on account of their principal, either as private agent, 
heir, attorney or assignees, or in any otlier character whatsoever, he shall 
produce from such principal a written evidence of the same, which shall be at- 
tested by the clerk of the county or corporation to which such principal be- 
longs, with the seal of the said county or corporation, and to this and no 
other evidence shall our agent hold himself justified in the payment of any 
moneys whatsoever; and in order that this ordinance shall be free to the in- 
spection of all and every person concerned, it is directed further, that the agent 
cause a copy thereof to be kept in the town of Henderson, and the signed and 
certified original to be made of record in the court of the county where said 
town lies. 

''And be it further ordained. That the portion of the Iftnd lying in the cen- 
ter of the town, as also the three roadways, as far as they. extend through the 
out or ten-acre lots of the town be considered as appropriated for public use 
and under the municipal jurisdiction of said town in trust for those uses and 
no other. 



"And be it further ordained. Tint the .ngcnt or agents so appointed shall 
have full power and authority to contract with any person or persons for any 
lot or lots w iiliin the said town, and the same to sell either by public or private 
sale, and the same to make over in fee simple as fully and completely as the 
proprietors themselves could or might do were they and everj' one of them 

'* It is further ordained, That Samuel Hopkins be, and he is hereby ap- 
pointed agent for the execution of this ordinance, and is ve§ted with every 
power necessary for carrying into execution the same. 

•' And be it further directed, that all moneys that shall actually be neces- 
sary for recording or registering the deed of partition, this ordinance, or any 
other paper of a public nature, shall be paid by the agent out of the first 
moneys arising from the sale of the lots in the town atoresaid. and that the 
same be allowed as an exhibit in his account, as well as generally all expenses 
arising under the orders and directions of the company, or that may be neces- 
sary for carrying into effect this ordinance. 

" In testimony whereof, we, the aforesaid company, have hereunto set our 
hands and seals, this ninth day of August, one thousand seven hundred and 

*' Signed and sealed in the presence : 

JO. HART, [L S.] 
• Attorney for Thomas Hart, 


V ss. 


Granville County,) 

'' We do hereby certify that this ordinance was signed, sealed and ac 
knowledged by the subscribers thereto, before us. Given under our hands and 
seals, this ninth day of August, 1797. 

"M. HUNT, }. P., [L.S.] 
"M, BULLOCK, J. P. [L.S,]" 

Granvillr County f 

*' I do hereby certify that the above signed, Memican Hunt and Micajah 

Bullock, Esquires, are, and were at the time of signing the above. Justices of 

the Peace for the county aforesaid, and that all due faith and credit ought to be 

paid to their signatures as such. 

"Given under my hand and the seal of the county aforesaid, this ninth 

day of August, 1797. 

"A. HENDERSON, Clerk." 



Henderson County. 

'T, John David Haussman, clerk of the county aforesaid, being duly author- 
ized by law to receive, admit and record deeds and other writings in my office, 
do hereby ceretify that the foregoing ordinance, with the two certificates an- 
nexed, was produced to me in my office in the town of Henderson, by Samuel 
Hopkins, agent for Richard Henderson & Co., on the twenty^ninth day of 
October, 1799, and that the same is duly recorded 

' Given under my hand the day and year aforesaid. 


From 1800 to 1819, twenty-nine lots were donated by General 
Hopkins, and one hundred and twenty-seven sold, John J. Audubon 
becoming the purchaser of four of them. Many of the aforesaid pur- 
chasers were non-residents, and when it is considered that General 
Hopkins was nineteen years in donating and selHng, for nominal 
sums, one hundred and fifty-six lots out of two hundred and sixty-four, 
it will be agreed that the growth of Henderson was distressingly slow. 


The first licensed tavern of which we have any knowledge, was 
that granted Michael Sprinkle, Jr., to be kept in his log house, then 
standing on lot No. 15, where Barret & Co.'s factory now stands ; this 
license was granted by the second C'ounty Court, held in the county 
June, 1799. He was required to give bond in the sum of one hun- 
dred pounds that he would not permit gaming or any one to drink 
'■'' 77wre tha7i necessary,^' or to be guilty of any '■'■ scandelous or disorderly 
behavior^ At the same meeting of this court, Andrew Burke was ap- 
pointed surveyor of the streets of the town, and ordered, together 
with all of the male laboring tithables living in the town, to keep the 
streets in repair, and open the roadways through the same. 

Drs. Adam Rankin and James Hamilton came to Henderson in 
1800, and practiced their profession up to the time of their death 
some years afterwards. They were the first practicioners. The re- 
cords of the County Court from 1800 to 1816 are lost, as are also the 
records of the town from 1810 to 1823, therefore all official acts, 
associated with the history of the town during that time, are blotted 
out. This fact is mentioned here by way of apology for the absence 
of matter during those lost years. The first ferry license granted by 
the County Court, was to Jonathan Anthony in 1802, from the Town 
of Henderson to the Indiana Territory opposite. 



In 1810 the town was incorporated, having a population of one 
hundred and sixty persons, and a voting population of thirty-five. 
The first tax levy was twenty cents on the one hundred dollars of real 
property, and a specific tax upon several kinds of personal property. 

From 1784 to 1823, the following persons kept tavern in the town, 
in the order of their names : Mrs. Hannah Dunn, Samuel Bradley, 
Michael Sprinkle, Hugh McGary, Joseph Fuquay, James B. Brent, 
Ephraim Sellers, Peter Green. Jonathan Bradshaw, Joseph Cowan, 
William Anthony, Thomas Anderson, Joshua Mullin, James Gobin 
and Gabriel Holmes. The following ministers occasionally preached: 
James McGready and Samuel Hodge, the great revivalists, Daniel 
Banks, Daniel Comfort, James McMahon, Samuel Julian and John 
Dorris. The following physicians practiced : Adam Rankin, James 
Hamilton, Levi Jones, Owen Glass, Nathaniel Gaither, Henry Grant, 
Thomas J. Johnson. From 1784 to 1823, the following persons were 
identified with the business interests of the town : John Dunn, George 
HoUoway, Presly Thorton, William Anthony, Ephraim Sellers, George 
Holloway, Wilson Marshal & Co., Joseph Fuqua}^, Daniel Jones, 
Thomas Anthony, William and Samuel Bowen, John J. Audubon, 
Audubon & Bakewell, Philip Jett, Philip Barbour, Nicholas Horseley, 
Ingram & Posey, Richard Atkinson & Co., James M. Hamilton, Cap- 
tain Francis Walker, Moses Morgan, and Nimrod Bishop 

In the year 1811, Philip Barbour erected a one-story tobacco, 
hemp, cotton and pork warehouse, 35x60 feet, on lot No. 5, a portion 
of which is now occupied by Woodruff Hall. This was the first build- 
ing of the kind, or of any importance, built in the town up to that 
time. In 1812, Thomas Towles was appointed overseer of the streets, 
and an act was passed by the Legislature authorizing the Trustees of 
the town to levy and collect a tax, not exceeding sixty dollars. This 
same year the old Johnson brick, which stood on the corner of First 
and Main Streets, was built. 

SOLDIERS organized. 

In September of this year, the greater part of the military divis- 
ion of General Samuel Hopkins, organized to move against the Kick- 
apoo Indian villages in northern Indiana, rendezvous at Henderson, 
and marched overland to the scene of action. Among the many vol- 
unteers from Henderson, were Captain James Barbour and Robert 
Smith, father of the present County Clerk ; John King, father of our 
present respected citizen, P. H. King. 


They were misled by guides, and after wandering over the prai- 
ries for some days to no purpose, were disbanded and returned home. 
Findins: the amount of tax for which the Trustees of the town were 
authorized to levy and collect,insi^cient,at the January session 1814,of 
the Legislature, an act was passed authorizing theTrustees to levy and 
collect " any sum, in any one year, not to exceed two hundred and 
fifty dollars." 


In 1814 William and Samuel Bowen erected a large frame one- 
story tobacco inspection warehouse on lot No. 4, corner Second and 
Water Streets. During this year the following houses, yet standing, 
were built : The old Posey two-story brick, standing midway of the 
square, between Main and Water on Second Street, built by N. F. 
Ruggles, and occupied as a residence and storehouse. The old one- 
story frame on the corner of Fourth and Main, built by Rev. Daniel 
Comfort, and afterwards occupied in succession by William and Sam- 
uel Bowen, Nicholas Horsely and John J. Audubon, as a residence 
and storehouse, and then by A. B. Barrett, William S. Holloway and 
others as a residence. 

In the spring of 1814, Wyatt H. Ingram and Fayette Posey, un« 
der the firm name of Ingram & Posey, built a frame tobacco ware- 
house near the center of the square, and upon the ground now occu- 
pied by A. S. Winstead's storehouse, and in 1815 handled six hundred 
and eighty-four hogsheads of tobacco, while the Henderson warehouse 
on the corner below handled three hundred and eighteen. 


During this year, and for many years previous, money was very 
scarce, and the greatest privations were experienced on that account. 
A meeting of the citizens of the county was called to suggest a remedy. 

This meeting was held on Saturday, November 12, 1814, and was 
largely attended. Walter Alves was appointed chairman and Am- 
brose Barbour secretary. Waiter Alves, James Hillyer and Philip 
and Ambrose Barbour, were appointed to correspond with certain Lex- 
ington gentlemen, in regard to petitioning the Legislature for a score 
of bank charters. It was resolved to f)etition the Legislature for a 
charter for a bank at Henderson, and James Hillyer, Philip Barbour 
and William and David Hart prepared the petition. Philip and Am- 
brose Barbour, James Hillyer and Thomas Towles were appointed to 
attend the Legislature. A committee was appointed to raise funds to 
defray expenses and then the meeting adjourned. The committee, 


consisting of Thomas Towles and James Hillyer, attended the meet- 
ing of the Legislasure, and in the course of time a perfect flood of 
bank charters were passed, and among the number the " Bank of Hen- 
derson." This concern was organized with Captain Samuel Ander- 
son as president, and James Hillyer cashier. It commenced business 
in a log house, which stood on the southeast corner of Main and Sec- 
ond Streets, and delegated Captain Daniel McBride to visit Philadel- 
phia on horseback for the purpose of having their circulating notes 
printed. They then determined to erect a banking house, and to that 
end purchased the northeast corner of lot No. 49, and commenced the 
building in 1818 of the two-story brick now owned by Hugh Kerr, 
and occupied by Kerr, Clark & Co., as a tobacco office. The bank 
failed about the time, or just before the house was completed. The 
building was then purchased by Joseph Cowan and completed. It 
was originally a three story house, but owing to the insecurity of the 
upper walls the third-story was taken off and the house reduced to a 
two-story, as it is at the present time. This old landmark, from the 
time of its completion, up to the time it was purchased by Mr. Kerr, 
was used as a tavern, having been occupied by Joseph Cowan, Rob- 
ert Speed, James Hicks, Leonard H. Lyne, Mrs. Brent and others. 

In the spring and summer of 1819, Richard Atkinson & Co. estab- 
lished, about midway of the square, on the west side of Second, be- 
tween Main and Water Streets, a large tobacco warehouse, which was 
operated up to the year 1844. During this year Dr. James M. Ham- 
ilton owned and carried on a blacksmith shop located on the Public 


Robert Terry, Obadiah Smith, Thomas Herndon, Captain Fran- 
cis Walker, were elected trustees of the town. The election was an 
exciting one, yet only twenty-one votes were polled. 

The candidates at this time were Robert Terry, Oba Smith, Thos 
H. Herndon, Lazarus Powell, Levi Barden, Captain F. E. Walker, 
William Williams, Robert Speed, Moses Morgan, W. H. Ingram. The 
voters were Robert Speed, Samuel Crosby, Joel Lambert, James Hill 
yer, Samuel Hopkins, J. B. Pollitt, Hancock Grigsby, William Jett, 
George Barnard, Obadia Smith, Bennett Marshall, Moses Morgan, 
Fayette Posey, James Wilson, Joshua Mullen, John A. Judah, William 
Williams, William Rankin, Ambrose Barbour, Jonathan Anthony, 
Daniel McBride, twenty-one all told. 

In 1820 Mrs. James B. Brent kept tavern in a little log house 
which stood on the corner of Third and Main Streets, the same ground 


now being occupied by D. R. Burbank's factory. In this house, or in 
the road near by it, is where Captain Ed. McBride received his wound, 
which will go with him to his grave. The old shanty was afterwards 
familiarly known as Rat Castle, -s. 


Became known as the best tavern keeper in the town, and at that 
time occupied the old Johnson brick on the corner of Main and First 
Streets. Prior to this time he operated a slaughter house on the point 
of land opposite Powell Street on the river bank, and furnished the 
town with fresh beef, pork and mutton. 

The Legislature of 1820-21, as mentioned in a previous part of 
this work, chartered the Commonwealth Bank. The branch for this 
district was located at Hartford, in Ohio County. James Hillyer, 
father of our aged and respected fellow citizen, Judge P. H. Hillyer, 
was appointed a director for Henderson County, and as such had con- 
trol of the business of making loans and receiving moneys for that 
bank. He made frequent visits to Hartford for the purpose of get- 
ting money, and for paying money collected of borrowers. 


By the ordinance of the ninth day of August, 1797, the Transyl 
vania Company appropriated all of that territory in the center of 
the town bounded by Water, and Green and Upper First and 
Lower First, or Washington Streets, for public uses, and or- 
dained that it be under the municipal jurisdiction of the said 
town in trust for those uses and no other. A few vears thereaf- 
ter, General Samuel Hopkins, agent for the company, caused 
two acres to be surveyed oft" this plat, to be given the County of Hen- 
derson for public uses, and from that time a system of land grabbing 
was inauguated, and never settled until about eighteen years ago. 

In 1821 it was represented to the Legislature of the State that 
the citizens of Henderson County desired to sell a portion of the 
Public Square in the town for public convenience and public pur- 
poses, and, in conformity to that representation, an act was approved 
December 6, making it lawful for the County Court of Henderson, a 
majority of all the Justices of the county forming said court, to make 
such an order as to them might seem expedient for a sale and con- 
veyance of a portion of the Square, not exceeding one acre, the pro- 
ceed to be applied towards lessenmg the county levy. This was never 

The original Transylvania Company was composed of Richard 
Henderson, Thomas Hart, Nathaniel Hart, William Johnson, James 


Hogg, John Williams, John Luttrell, David Hart and Leonard Henly 
Bullock, the first seven owning equal interest, being one-eighth each, 
and the last two owning one-sixteenth each. At the date of the or- 
dinance, August 9, 1797, only three of the original partners were liv- 
ing, namely, Thomas Hart, James Hogg and John Williams. The or- 
dinance was signed by John Williams, James Hogg, Richard Bullock, 
Walter Alves, John Hart, John Umstead and Henry Puviance, attor- 
ney for Thomas Haft, Nathaniel Hart and L. Henderson. 


In 1821, one Charles Buck, claiming to be the sole heir of John 
Luttrell, deceased, appeared on the ground and asserted claim to one- 
eighth part of the entire town of Henderson, including lots, streets, 
alleys and public grounds, and for the recovery thereof instituted ac- 
tion of ejectment in the Circuit Court against those who had pur- 
chased lots from General Samuel Hopkins, agent of the company. 
He denied the validity of the ordinance, and, also, that the town was 
legally established, or that the said ordinance was signed or pub" 
lished by persons having right or authority to make or publish the 
same. Pending this suit an arrangement and compromise was ef- 
fected between Buck and the citizens and lot owners, whereby the 
said Buck, in consideration of thirteen hundred and fifty dollars, dis- 
missed his bill, and by deed relinquished his entire claim to said lots, 
streets, alleys and public grounds to the citizens and lot holders. This 
thirteen hundred and fifty dollars constituted a fund raised by the lot 
owners, who had purchased from General Hopkins prior to the com- 
ing of Buck. Before the compromise between Buck and tlie lot own- 
ers, at least before the date of the deed, an allotment of in and out 
lots was made to him by order of the County Court. Buck claimed 
to hold, by deed, John Luttrell's one-eighth share in the grant made 
by the State of Virginia to Richard Henderson & Co. Edmund Tal- 
bott and G. Ormsby, Commissioners of the Court, allotted to him as 
his share, or eighth part, in or one acre lots, running serially from 
145 to 1/5, both inclusive, on Water Street Square, also on Main and 
Third Streets, from 193. to 220, inclusive. Also on Third and back 
streets, all of the lots by numbers in regular progression, from lot 237 
to 264, inclusive. Also, five lots on Main and Third Streets, making 
in all ninety-three lots of one acre each. Also, of out lo's of ten 
acres each, the following lots as numbered in said plat, viz.: Nos. 25, 
26 and 24, the lots now allotted or assigned to the said Buck as 
aforesaid, in and unto the aforesaid, in lots and out lots so numbered 
and stated above, are of the one acre lots numbered 217, 218, 219, 


220, 258, 238, 289, 240, 237, 193, 194, 195 and 196, making thirteen 
lots of one acre each. Also, of out lot No. 26, his portion the quan- 
tity of three and three-quarters of an acre, and determined that he 
be entitled to receive and reco\5er of the other partners the sum of 
ten dollars sixty-two and a half cents as a balance due him in this al- 

In his deed to the citizens Buck relinquishes his claim alone to 
such lots as had been donated and sold by General Hopkins. 

The following is a copy of Buck's deed : 

" This indenture made this first day of July, 1825, between Charles Buck 
and Mary, his wife, of the County of Henderson and State of Kentucky of 
the one part, and George Morris. Nathaniel F. Ruggles, Daniel McBride and 
all other holders of lots in the town of Henderson, county aforesaid, of the 
other part. 

" Witnesseth, that whereas the said town was laid off at a place called the 
'* Red Banks " on the Ohio River, and the lots have been generally sold out or 
disposed of by the late General Samuel Hopkins in the character of an agent 
for Richard Henderson & Co., proprietors of the land on which the land is 
situated, and whereas the said Charles Buck hath commenced suits and asserts 
claim to, and interest in said town lots. In order to the quiet and final ter- 
mination of said Buck's claiin to the lots in said town hereafter expressed and 
set down, they, the said Charles Buck and Mary, his wife, of the first part, 
for the consideration aforesaid and the further consideration of thirteen hun- 
dred and fifty dollars in specie in hand paid by the said Morris, Ruggles. Mc- 
Bride and others, the holders and claimants of lots in the said town, of the 
second part, the said Charles l^uck and Mai'v, his ivife doth hereby relinquish, 
make over, assign and convey, and by these present hath relinquished, made 
over, assigned and transferred unto the several lot holders, claimants or occu- 
pants of lots or parts of lots in said town, according to the several port'ons or 
proportions they now hold or claim, and to their heirs and assigns forever all 
the right, tittle, interest, claim, and demand of them, the said Charles Buck 
and Mary, his wife, in and unto the said lots or parts of lots or parcels of 
ground in said town of Henderson, with all and singular their appurtinances 
thereunto belonging, or in anywise appertaining, together with all their inter- 
est in the fraction of ground in the center of the town called the " Public 
Square," and of all the several cross streets and streets above fourth cross 
street below the " Public Square," all of which together with the lots hereby 
intended to be conveyed, will be better explained or designated by the plan or 
plat of said town recorded in the office of Henderson County in Deed Book 
•' A," the only exception to the plan or plat aforesaid is that the street nearest 
the River Ohio, commonly called Water Street, is- agreed upon by all parties, 
shall be reduced to the width of one hundred and twenty-five feet instead of 
two hundred feet as marked out in said plat, to have and to hold, etc., etc." 

Hardly had this deed been signed and acknowledged and 
the lot owners permitted to take one long breath, before other Rich- 


monds appeared on the field of judicial controversy and asserted a 
claim to even more of the town than Buck had claimed. 

In the year 1S25, Amelia Alves, widow of Walter Alves, de- 
ceased, one of the signers of the ordinance of 1707, and William J. 
Alves, James Alves, Robert Alves, Haywood Alves, Walter Alves, 
Ann Henderson, late Ann Alves, Thomas Towles and his wife, late 
Elizabeth Alves, heirs of the said decedent, and Richard J. Hart, heirs 
of Richard Pienderson & Co., asserted claim to five-sixteenths of the 
town, including lots, streets, alleys and public grounds. They were 
about instituting suit when the Trustees and citizens of the town, all 
more or less personallv interested, became alarmed and held a o:reat 
public meeting at the Court House, at which they horned a proposi- 
tion remarkable for its liberality, especially as it did not cost anyone 
of them a single farthing. This meeting did not appoint a committee 
to confer with the new claimants, nor did they offer to take out of 
their own pockets a sufficiency of silver and gold to release their 
town lo s, but with modest liberality fell upon the following proposi" 
tion : 


•' We will give to Amelia Alves. the heirs of Walter Alves, deceased, and 
Richard G. Hart the following described property, to-\vit : To Richard G. 
Hart the upper half of lot No. 3, agreeably to an amended plat gotten up by 
themselves. (Lot No. 3 is the square bounded by Main and Water and Up- 
per First and Lower First or Washington Streets, the same one on which the 
Barret Mouse is located, and was a part of the Public Square donated for public 
uses ) To the Alves' heirs, Ann Henderson. Thomas Towles and wife, the re- 
maininghalf of the aforesaid lot No, 3 conveyed to Hart, and all that portion 
of the Public Square contained between Upper First and Lower First or 
Washington, and Flm and Green Streets, and numbered on their amended 
plal one and twjo. We will also petition the Legishiturc to reduce the width 
of Water Street from two hundred feet to one hundred and twenty-five, and 
will convey to Richard G. Hart and the above named heirs of Walter Alves. 
deceased, and Amelia Alves, heir of William Johnson, aU of our right title 
and interest in and to that portion of Water Street, which remains after reduc- 
ing said street to one hundred and twentv-five feet. We will also convey all 
of our interest in and to the streets below fourth cross street below the Public 
Square, for a relinquishment to us of all claims upon otir lots, purchased from 
General Samuel Hopkins, agent ot the company." 

It is represented that the meeting held at the Court House was 
attended by a large majority of the citizens and lot holders of the 
tOMm, and that a petition was prepared and and then signed by each 
man in the meeting, praying the Legislature to pass an act authoriz- 
ing the sale of that portion of the Public Square between Elm and 


Green, and Upper First and Lovver First Streets, the square between 
Main and Water and Upper and Lower First, and reducing Water 
Street from two hundred feet to one hundred and twenty-five feet in 
width. This proposition was tfien made to the claimants and by 
them accepted. 

Nothwithstanding the -ordinance of Richard Henderson & Co., 
made and signed, August 9, 1797, and the sale of lots thereunder, 
from 1800 to 1819, not one of the lot holders offered to contest the 
claim of Alves and Hart, nor did the Trustees of the town— who 
were interested parties. But they were willing to convey property 
which had been given for public uses and no other. Alves and Hart 
accepted the proposition of the citizens' meeting, and thereupon on 
the first day of July, 1825, the following indenture was entered into 
bv the citizens : 


"This indenture made and entered into this first day of July, 1825, be- 
tween the citizens and present lot holders of the town o^ Henderson of the 
one part, and Amelia Alves, WilHam J. Alves, James Alves, Robert Alves, 
Haywood Alves, Walter Alves, Ann Henderson, late Ann x\lves, Thomas 
Towles and his wife, late Elizabeth Alves, and Richard G. Hart of the other 
part, witnesseth that for and in consideration of certain rights relinquished by 
the parties of the second part to the parties of the first part bv deed of this 
date, also the further consideration of one dollar, the receipt of which is here- 
by acknowledged, the parties of the first part have this day bargained and sold, 
and by these presents doth bargain, sell, alien and convey unto the parties of 
the second part, the following described lots of land in the. following manner, 
to-wit : 

" That is the parties of the first part alien and convey unto Richard G. 
Hart of the second part, the upper half oi lot No. 3, agreeable to an amended 
plat of said town, herewith filed and made apart of this deed, being the upper 
half of that part of the Public Square contained between the first and second 
streets from the river, and parallel thereto, and the parties of the first further 
alien and convey ynto the Alves's. Ann Henderson, Thomas Towles and wife 
the remaining half of the aforesaid lot conveyed to said Hart, and all that 
portion of the Public Square contained between the third and fourth streets of 
said town trom the river, and numbered on the said amended plat by the num- 
bers two and three, and the said parties of the first part relinquish and convey 
un o the said Richard G. Hart and the above named heirs of Walter Alves, de- 
ceased, and the above named Amelia Alves, the heir ot William Johnson, all 
their right title and interest in and to all that portion of Water Street which 
remains after reducing said street to one hundred and twenty five feet, which 
they have derived under the ordinance ot Richard Henderson & Co., in estab- 
lishing said town, reserving to Nicholas Berthoud the land leased to Thomas 
Pears & Co., during the term of that lease, and it is understood that the par- 


ties of the first part convey no interest which they have in and to any of the 
streets in said town, except Water Street aud the streets below fourth cross street be- 
hnv the Public Square. 

•' In testimony whereol we have hereunto set our hands and seals the day 
before mentioned, and it is further understood that all the cross streets run 
through to the river. 

ROBERT TERRY, [seal.] 
GEORE MORRIS, [seal.] 
JOHN W. MOSELY, [seal.] 
YOUNG E. ALLISON, [seal ] 
W. SOAPER, [seal.] 
JOHN SPEIDEL, [seal.] 
JAMES GOBIN, [seal ] 
JOEL LAMBERT, [seal.] 
JOHN H. SUBLETT, [seal.] 
NATH'LF. RUGGLES, [seal.] 
DANIEL B. TAYLOR, [seal ] 
N C HORSLEY, [seal ] 
JOHN LOGAN, [seal] 
JOHN ANTHONY, [seal ] 


r SS* ' 

Henderson County, i 

'■ This instrument ot writing was produced to me in my otiice on the 
ninth day of July, 1S25, and acknowledged by the grantors therein to be their 
act and deed for the purposes therein expressed. Whereupon this deed is 
duly recorded in my office. 

"Attest: WILL D. ALLISON, Clerk. 

'•Bv Y. E. Allison, D. C." 


In return for this kind act, on the part of the citizens, Messrs. 
Alves and Hart, and those associated with them, conveyed on the 
same day to the citizens certain lots, being with a few omissions and 
additions, the same lots conveyed a short time previous by Buck, and 
the same lots sold and donated to the lot holders by General Hop- 
kins. In addition to this, they relinquished all claim to the streets 
lying above fourth cross street lelow the " Public Square," but not 
below that street. Water Street was excepted, beyond one hundred 
and twenty-five feet in width. In this deed, was also included " Park " 
and " Court House " Square, as now located. 

Subsequent to this, to-wit : on the twentieth day of April, 1826, 
James Alves, who claimed by inheritance and purchase, that he was 
entitled to five-sixteenths of the river front, applied to the Countv 
Court for an allotment of his proportion of the land. The order was 
granted, and Edmond Talbott and George Ormsby, two of the Com- 
missioners appointed by the County Court of Henderson County to 
divide lands and make conveyance therefor, agreeably to the act of the 
General Assembly, proceeded to make the allotment, and by inden- 
ture conveyed the following described property : 


"' All those several tracts, parcels and lots of land situated in said 
Town of Henderson, as reduced by the Legislature in November, 1825, 
between the Ohio River and Water Street, lot of ground beginning 
at Mill Street, (now Second Street), and extending up to fourth cross 
street ; also lot lying at the upper end of the town opposite lots Nos. 
41 and 44, also one lot lying at the lower end of the town, and lying 
opposite lots Nos, 141 and 144. 


In order to clinch this trade, and give to it a legal recognition, 
the Legislature was induced to pass the following act, which was ap- 
proved January 18, 1827. 

''Sectiox 1. Be it enacted, etc. That the front, or Water Street, in the 
ToAvn of Henderson be, and the same is hereby reduced to the width of one 
hundred and twenty-five feet. 

•'Sec. 2. That the arrangement made and entered into betwixt the cit- 
izens and lot owners, in the Town of Henderson, and Richard G. Hart. James 
Alves and others, whereby the citizens and lot owners aforesaid, relinquished 
portion of the Public Square and Front Street to said Hart, Alves and others, 
be, and the same is hereby ratified and fegalized, so far as it effects the tnterestz 
of the parties to the arrangement or compromise aforesaid," 


The closing sentence of the act shows conclusively that the Leg- 
islature doubted the legality of the compromise, and ratified it only 
as to the parties interested, and not as to the public. 

By the terms, stipulations and agreements in the compromise, the 
limits of the town were reduced by act of the Legislature, approved 
November '21, 1825, and all that portion of the town below Fourth 
Street, below the Public Square, including the river front, streets and 
all, bcame vested in James Alves and other parties to the compromise, 
and has been held in peaceable and adverse possession from that 

Thus, it will be seen that the Trustees and citizens of the town, 
in 1825, saved their own town lots, which had been donated, or pur- 
ch.ised for a nominal sum by bartering away property donated for pub- 
lic uses, and in which each one of them had no more interest than 
any citizen now- has in the Public Square, yet left in the town. 
Equally as unheard of, the sulisequent Trustees acquiesed in the 
compromise until the supposed statute of limitation estopped the town 
from asserting title or claim to any part except the riverfront. Not 
satisiied with giving up two-thirds or more of the public ground do- 
nated by Richard Henderson & Co., the citizen lot holders gave up 
so far as it was in their power the river front. They bought Buck off 
by paying him thirteen hundred and fifty dollars, because he would 
not compromise for land, which did not belong to them. They com- 
promised with Alves and Hart because they were willing to take this 
land — and were perhaps glad to do so — ^and because they did not de- 
mand money, and again, it was an easier matter for the lot holders to 
pay in something which did not belong to them than something which 

In 1850, the Trustees of the Towm of Henderson contracted with 
William B. Vandzandt for widening or enlarging the wharf or passage- 
way down the bank at the foot of second cross street. At that time 
Water Street was under the agreement between the citizens and lot 
owners, and Alves and Hart, recognized to be only one hundred and 
tvventy-flve feet in width, and the strip of land seventy-five feet or 
more in width, extending out beyond the street, was claimed by James 
Alves. When Vandzandt began excavating this strip of land for the 
purpose of carrying out his contract, he was enjoihed by James Alves, 
and that brought up the full question of title. The Trustees of the 
town, to-wit : Dr. Thomas J. Johnson, John McBride, David Clark, 
William S. Holloway, William B. Vandzandt and George M. Priest, 
in answer to the cross bill filed against them by Vandzandt, denied 


the title claimed by Alves, and made their answer a cross bill ag inst 
him, and prayed that he be made a defendant thereto, and compe'led 
to exhibit his title to said strip of land. They asked that the respect- 
ive rights of Alves and the town be adjudicated, and that a decree be 
granted forever quieting the title of the town, and that he be enjoined 
and restrained from asserting claims or interfering with the use and 
quiet possession of the same by the public, and the said Town of 
Henderson. A number of depositions were taken on both sides and 
of course, the "- old sell oiif or compromise, made 'by the citizens and 
lot owners in 1825, was thoroughly ventilated. 

The follo'wing interrogatory and answer, bearing upon this sub- 
ject is found in the deposition of Rev. Joel Lambert: 

"•Question. — What reason had jou for paying off Buck with your individ- 
ual money, and buying off Alves' claim by conveying to him land dedicated 
to public uses — why did you make the difference? 

"■Answer. — The reason I consented to pay Buck money to extinguish his 
claim was, he would only take money oj w^, and the reason I consented to make 
distinction between them, Mr. KUeazvould lake thai claim and release me " 

Also, in a deposition of Samuel Stites, who was Chairman of the 
Board of Trustees of the Town, the following interrogatory and an- 
swer is found : 

^'Question by James Alves. — Did you not own some property in 1825, when 
the compromise was made with Charles Buck, and did you not pay your pro- 
portionable part of the money raised to pay Buck for his relinquishment of 
claim upon the lots in the Town of Henderson .? 

"^.— In 1825 I had but little property in town! I contributed some money 
to get Charles Buck to relinquish his claim upon the town lots. I signed the 
deed of compi-omise (^as it is called), which was entered into in 1825, between 
the citizens and lot holders ot the Town of Henderson, and Alves and Hart. 
I signed said deed merely to quiet matters, I did not consider my signing the 
deed oi any value, having no claim to convey and so stated at the time." 

Dr. Owen Glass testified in answer to the question : 
" At whose instance and by what authority did you sign that deed.? 
" I declare J do not recollect now, I signed iX. as a favor to whoevar asked it, 
as men usually sign petitions, without feeling any personal interest or refection of 
any kind. 1 felt \villing to do anythmg in my power to settle the disputes ot the 

William D. Allison testified : 
'• There were several actions of ejectment depending in the court at the 
dateof the deed to Charles Buck, and I understood that the object of the ar- 
rangement was mentioned as a compromise of Buck's claim to the town lots. 1 
felt no personal interest in the matter at the time, and signed the deed merely 
as a favor to whoever requested j?ie, just as men sign petitions without consider- 


ing the eft'ect, / remember hearing of some objection made, that the citizens had no 
poiver to convey the streets ajid Public Square. I did not know that Alves claimed 
any part of the town lots, until the deed wa$ presented, but had heard it spoken 
of as a compromise of Buck's claim. Heard Buck say that he (Buck) had car- 
ried ihe " l)lack log," and others got all the town property. Thid hehore the 
odinni of disturbing the titles, and got nothing lor it " 

Y. E. Allison testified : 

*' Deponent would state that he moved to this place in September, 1824, 
at that time one Charles Buck had sundry suits in ejectment pending in the 
Henderson Circuit Court against persons in the country to recover an interest 
which he claimed in Henderson & Co.'s Giant, derived from one Luttrell 
Deponent recollects welT of hearing George Morris and many other citizens of 
the town talk about Buck's suits ruining the prospects of the town and county ; 
that unless Buck's claims could be quieted the place never would improve, 
that no man would buy property here, with the almost positive certainty of be 
ing sued for it. Things went on that way until some time the next summer, 
then the said George Morris and Nathaniel F.Ruggles, hit upon apian, as the 
thought, to quiet Buck's claims against the town. The plan was for the cit- 
izens and lot holders of the town to sell and convey to Buck, ten acres of the 
Public Square, and all that part of the river front, which lay between the first 
range of lots and the river, after reducing Water Street to one hundred and 
twenty -five feet, and Buck to con\'ey to the citizens and lot holders all the in- 
terest w^hich he claimed to any lot or lots in said town, lying above fourth 
cross street, below the Public Square. After discussing this plan some time, 
the said Morris, Ruggles and others set about carrying their plan into operation; 
thev talked with the most extensive land holders about town, and entreated 
them to come forward and assist in quieting Buck's claims. Justat this point, I 
first learned that Alves and Hart had claims against the town, as well as 
Buck, and it was said, they were waiting to see how Buck would come out; 
that if he succeeded, they would sue for their interests, said to be much larger 
than Buck's. The plan of compromise was then changed, in this, that the ten 
acres of the original Public Square, and that portion of the river front before 
spoken of, was to be conveyed to Alves and Hart, and a sum of money raised 
by the citizens and lot holders, to be paid to Buck to extinguish his claim. De- 
ponent was then deputy clerk of the Henderson County Court, and when the 
deed of compromise was drawn up and ready for execution, he (in com- 
pany with the late Captain Daniel McBride, who went with him. and collected 
what money was to be raised for Buck, or to make such arrangements in tak- 
ing notes as satisfied Buck), went round and waited on most of the signers to 
said deed at their residences and places of business They all signed it cheer- 
fully. The said compromise was entered into in good faith, for the purpose of 
quieting the titles to town property, and everybody seemed to be not only sat- 
isfied, but delighted with the arrangement. 

"James Alves has regularly listed said property for taxation, ever since 
1840, and has as regularly paid the tax on the same up to, and including the 

year 1852." 


These gentlemen were among the citizens who signed the deed 
to Alves and Hart, and no doubt all of the other signers were gov- 
erned as they were, except those largely interested, and they were 
looking out for self-interest, of course. A short time after the com- 
promise, Mr. Alves caused the two squares between Upper First and 
Lower First, and Oreen and Elm Streets, to be fenced in with rails, 
and for one or two years cultivated the two in tobacco or corn. 

From 1832, he sold and leased lots, and annually assessed the 
property for taxation. While it was generally believed that his claim 
against the town really amounted to nothing, yet he and Hart were 
permitted to hold the three squares, the two back of Elm and the one 
between Main and Water, without molestation by the town authori- 
ties or any citizen. 

On the tenth day of February, 1827, Richard G. Hart sold to 
John Spidel one-half of the square now occupied by the Barrett 
House, and during that year Spidel built two stories of the main 
house now standing. The house was originally two stories. In the 
suit concerning the river front, the court held that the deed from the 
citizens to James Alves did not pass title, but that the property be- 
longed to the public. The case was taken to the Court of Appeals, 
and in July, 1855, Judge Marshall affirmed the decree. Thus ended 
a hot\v contested controversy, resulting in breaking up one of the 
most amusing, if not unheard of, bargains and sale ever entered upon 
the records of a county deed book. No blame can attach to James 
Alves and Richard G. Hart, however, for they w£re fortunate in get- 
ting what they claimed without much persuasion or threatening, and 
it would have been no more than natural for them to have accepted 
the whole town if the Trustees and citizens had so deeded it. 

On the fourteenth day of October, 1854, the Trustees of the town 
instituted suit against the executors of James Alves, and other per- 
sons who held title under him, by purchase, for that portion of the 
Public Square deeded to him by the citizens in 1825. This suit was 
tried, and the claim of the defendants established by right of posses- 
sion. It was thought now that all disputes concerning the title to our 
public grounds were finally and forever settled, but in 1859, as will be 
seen in the preceding history, the County of Henderson laid claim to 
the strip of land running from Center Street to first upper cross 
street, and lying immediately in rear of the Court House. There 
was a long and hotly contested suit between the county and the town, 
but the latter was successful. The city now claims, and has left of 



the five beautiful squares and streets, the Public Square between Main 
and Elm and Center and first lower cross streets, and the little 
strip of ground in rear of the Court House, and may safely congratu- 
late herself she has that much. 

This Public Square has never been put to the use for which it 
was donateci, technically speaking, yet it has cost a considerable sum 
of money at various times. I'hj old Union Church, the first church 
ever built in the town, stood upon its graceful hill side, from its build- 
ing, away back in 1825, to the time of its tearing down. Calvin Sugg, 
William Wurnell, and a half dozen others, were hung beneath its 
shades. Hundreds of country horses, teams, etc., have found a pleas- 
ant hitching place there, and many a circus tent has been pitched 
upon it, and many a side-splitting laugh indulged at the turn and wit 
of the clowns, old Dan Rice among the number. 

In 1856, this poor, neglected spot received the attention of the 
city fathers, as a sort of paliative for the negligence of the past. It 
had been permitted to wash, and wash, until not only the street, but 
half of the square had washed into the Ohio River; this half, how- 
ever, had been put to public uses, for during the winter months it was 
a favorite resort for skatorial enthusiasts, and during the summer for 
small fish and frog anglers. In 1856 it was filled up, and early in 
the spring of 1857 fenced, for the first time, with a plank fence.* This 
evidence of progress and good taste was sufficient to unloose all of 
the pent up poetry and sentiment of Judge J.Willie Rice, who at that 
time was a contributor to the columns of the Reporter, over the pe- 
culiar nom deplume "Squibob." "Squibob" wrote as follows : 

** ' Squibob ' rejoices to announce to the belledom, and the buckdom of 
Henderson, that the Public Square is in process of improvement that the in- 
tense Ibngings of their hearts are ere long to be realized, that 'neath the soft 
moonlight of a summer's sky, whilst sweet flowers cast their incense upon the 
breeze, and pearly dew drops glisten on the leafy branches, they can sit at 
eventide and tell their vows of eternal love. But, gallant youths and fair 
maidens, let not the bright scene which imagination would picture, or the de- 
light with which fancy vrould invest so romantic a trysting place, repress for 
the present the feelings that well up in your hearts. The young trees, with all 
their virginal beauty, possess yet naught of the romance characteristic of love's 
recesses, while the grassy slopes and graveled walks as yet lend no beauty to 
that spot which hereafter will be hailed as an ' Elysium on earth.' If Squi- 
bob's heart were thrilled by the holy passion of love, he would not wait for 
* the good time coming,' with its dew drops and moonlight, but would ' work 
while yet it is day.' Though such scenes, commemorated and embellished by 
novelists of all times, possess an interest for the romance of his heart, he says 


to his voung friends, wait not for the dim tuture in the bright noonday of the 
present. Those who are yet in the early spring time of youth can watch the 
grass as it decorates the 'square' wiih its verdure, and count each leaf and 
twig as Ihey add new beauty to the scene. When, within its lovely confines, 
each one has wooed and won the maiden of his choice, he will raise his heart 
in thanks to the ''City Fathers' whohave provided so sweet a spot. Aryi when 
hereafter he will pass that grove, with his dear one on his arm, and prattling 
infancy bv his side, he may well exclaim in sweet accents : 
*• Dost thou remember that place so lonely, 

A place for lovers, and lovers only, 

Where first I told thee all my secret sighs } 

When, as the moonbeams that trembled o'er thee, 

Illumed thy blushes, I knelt before thee, 

And read m^' hope's sweet triumph in those eyes. 

Then, then, while closely heart was drawn to heart, 

Love bound us never, never more to part." 

" Squibob " was evidently a man of taste, and pictured in his 
poetic way what should have been done, but never was, until this 
good year, 1887. The surface of the long-neglected ground has 
echoed the matchless eloquence of early preachers. It has been the 
scene of sorrow and sadness, as it has been the scene of joy and 
gladness. It has been a camping ground of the soldiery. It has 
been hacked and abused, and to-day, after a varied life of eighty- 
seven years, stands before the eyes of the citizens (owing to their re- 
cent liberality) a beautiful park, inclosed by a handsome iron fence, 
a gift from the county through the good taste of its Magistrates. It 
is otherwise adorned and beautified, and in the course of tim-^. will 
become a lovely spot. Thus, " Squibob's " poetic dream has become 
an actuality. 


From 1810 to 1830, indeed we might say up to 1867, Hender- 
son seems to have struggled with perilous travail for a mere existence. 
All accounts go to show that her progress was rather of the retro- 
grade and backward nature. The river bank was a source of im- 
mense annoyance, and all the while the system of engineering was 
most brutal and suicidal. Ditches were dug down Water Street to 
First, and in Elm to Main and down Main to Lower First, as a sys- 
tem of drainage. They were dug down Third to Water, and down 
Fourth to Water, and in every instance where the oulet was there 
was a wash made in a short time which it would take thousands of 
yards of earth to replace. Thus it was that all of the ugly ravines, 
gradually but slowly working their way into the very heart of the 
town, were made. Water Street, with the exception of the two 


squares between First and Third Streets, was entirely washed away, 
and since 1867 has been refilled. 

In every instance these ravines have been made by the foolish 
engineering of the ^arly trustees and citizens of the town. The ra- 
vine between Main and Water on Lower First Street, was made in 
that way, and at one time had swallowed up one-third of the now 
Public Square. The entire street between Main and Water on Lower 
Fourth Street, has by this same foolish system been washed away, and 
is now an immense ravine, which, if ever filled up, will cost an untold 
amount of money. 

The principal items of outlay were for protecting the river front 
and for ditching and draining the low and unhealthy grounds that lay 
in and around the town in all directions. The tax duplicate increased 
but little and every year the delinquent list was alarmingly large. 

In these early times the town was populated by a well-to-do 
class, socially speaking the equal of any in the west, but commer- 
cially speaking old-foggyish, cynical and selfish. Of course this latter 
remark is not intended to apply to the community at large, but to a 
large class who persistently opposed every progressive movement 
where that movement encroached upon their rights or pocketbooks. 
There was seemingly no disposition to shove the struggling town 
along, but an evident feeling of self-satisfaction at its normal condi- 
tion, therefore, no public enterprise met with much favor, but was 
rather given the cold shoulder by what was commonly denominated the 
" nabobs " of the town. In a deposition of Mr. Samuel Stites, taken 
in 1853, is the following bit of early history, which is conclusive upon 
this proposition : 

Mr, Stites was asked to state what occurred on the occasion of 
an attempt or negotiation in regard to the erection of glass works 
many years ago. He answered : " In the year 1817 or 1818, a 
member of the firm of Page & Bakewell, extensive manufacturers of 
Pittsburg, visited this place and spoke of establishing a manufactory 
of glass here, provided they could obtain a suitable lot lying between 
the river street and the river. Several of our citizens went with him 
to the bank of the river to view the ground. I was along, and recol- 
lect distinctly that one of the signers of the ordinance of 1797 was also 
one of the number. The citizens generally were in favor of accom- 
modating them, or that the town corporation should do so, believing 
that it would greatly promote the prosperity of the place. Some 
thought that the town authorities could make them a title to the 
ground, others that it would require an act of the Legislature, and I 


recollect distinctly that the 'signers of the ordinance of 1797 ' vio- 
lently opposed it, alleging that the ground or space between the river 
street and the river should be kept open. That those who had pur- 
chased lots on the street did so with the understanding that no ob- 
struction should ever be placed between them and the river, and that 
neither the town authorities or State Legislature could deprive them 
of that right. I recollect too that many of the citizens were a good 
deal displeased at the opposition shown by this man." 

The Pittsburg gentleman, who had come to invest largely in the 
town, left it thoroughly disgusted. He was satisfied with the sand, 
the site and all, but the apparent lethargy and grumbling of such men 
as mentioned by Mr. Stites, settled the matter so far as Henderson 
was concerned. If the argument advanced by the signers of the or- 
dinance of 1797 held good in 1817, it most assuredly did not in 1825, 
when the citizens and lot owners signed a deed, not only to the 
streets and public grounds, but to tl-we entire river front. 

But then the reader must not forget that the two propositions were 
entirely unlike in their bearings. The proposition of 1817 was to receive 
an indirect benefit to the entire population, by encouraging the erection 
and operation of a large glass manufactory, while the proposition of 
1825 was to repurchase the lots of a few by deeding away public 
grounds in which they were only interested as citizens and had no 
right to convey. 

In 1835 or 1837, Samuel Orif, for many years a progressive, lead- 
ing and influential citizen and capitalist of Evansville, and one who did 
as much as any one person to build up that flourishing city, came to 
Henderson from Pittsburg for the purj)ose of establishing a pork 

He had ample means at his disposal to buy land and erect build 
ings, but met with no liberal encouragement. Land was priced to 
him enormously high, and no disposition to sell even at exhorbitant 
prices. He left Henderson and went to Evansville, where all of the 
land he required, and temporary buildings erected thereon, were 
freely given him without charge or price. 

It is a settled fact that the early inhabitants, while hospitable and 
clever, were yet land sharks, with a confirmed idea of the respecta- 
bility of a large landed estate, and a determination to hold to or re- 
ceive four or five times its value. In very many instances to hold, 
no matter what price might be offered. For that reason, Henderson 
failed to witness more than a natural increase of population for many 
years and was left far behind by many of her neighbors. 


Lot 59 was set apart in the early settlement of the town as a 
cemetery, and within that one acre were buried the remains of a large 
majority of those who died from 1800 up to 1849. While there is no 
deed from General Samuel Hopkins to the Trustees of the town or 
to the citizens, it is a self-evident fact that the lot was intended for a 
public burial ground and was so given. 

An act of the Legislature was passed incorporating the Cumber- 
land Presbyterian Church. The church building was erected on the 
northwest corner of lot No. 58, adjoining the alley, from the fact, per- 
haps, the land cost nothing, and from the further fact, perhaps, that 
in those times it was fashionable to have churches near burial grounds 
or burial grounds near churches. 

In 1849 an act was passed incorporating the the Trustees of the 
" Henderson Cemetery," now known as Fernwood. And several 
years thereafter most of the remains of those to be found in the old 
cemetery were removed to the grounds purchased by the new com- 

DuVing the 1822 term of the Legislature power was given to the 
Trustees of the town to levy and collect by taxation a sum not to ex- 
ceed fi\e hundred dollars. Incorporated in this same act was a sec- 
tion regulating the tax le\ ied upon the property of non-residents. It 
was enacted, " That whenever any part of the tax levied upon prop- 
erty shall be assessed upon lots of non-residents, if not paid when 
due, the same shall be advertised fof three months, and if not paid, 
the lot or lots shall be forfeited, but may be redeemed in three years 
by the payment of triple the amount for which such lot was sold and 
double the tax for every year the lots may remain unredeemed, with 
legal interest and cost of advertising." 

This one-sided law amounted to confiscation, and whether it was 
ever enforced cannot be determined. John Green was allowed the 
sum of twenty-two dollars for collecting the June tax for 1822. 




With this year the records of the town begin, and on the fifteenth 
day of September, the following persons were present, and constituted 
the Board of Trustees : Nathaniel F. Ruggles, Levi Jones, John H. 
Sublitt, Samuel Stites and James H. Lyne; William D. Allison clerk. Dr. 
Levi Jones and Nathaniel F. Ruggles were appointed commissioners 
to have the town resurveyed and laid off, and two hundred dollars 


appropriated for that purpose. The meetings of the Board of Trustees 
were held monthly, on the first Friday in each month at the Court 
House. Thomas H. Herndon was appointed Captain of the pafol 
for the year, and his salary fixecl at twenty dollars. He was also al- 
lowed the sum of four dollars eighty-seven and a half cents for whip- 
ping slaves by order of the Magistrate The ponds around Court 
Square had become a source of great annoyance, and the ditches here- 
tofore dug for the purpose of draining them, had become great ditches 
with perpendicular sides caving with every rain. A great part of the 
revenue was used for bridging these ditches and putting a stop to fur- 
ther encroachments into the roads or streets. Early in the year, the 
first newspaper was established in Henderson. It was the " Colum- 
bian^' published by William R. Abbott, and printed by Josh Cunning- 
ham, at that time a practical printer as well as graceful writer. This 
paper was published for many years, and was finally merged into the 
" South Kentuckian" under the management of W. R. Abbott and C. 
W. Pennell. 


The Trustees determined it was necessary to the commercial in- 
terest of the town, that a landing should be provided, and to this end 
contracted with Robert Terry and N. C. Horseley, for the building of 
a thirty foot cut, through the foot of Sieam Mill Street as it was then 
known. This landing was known as Steam Mill Wharf. These names 
were derived from Audubon & Bake well's mill, now a part of Clark's 
tobacco factory. The landing was nothing more than a cut through 
the river bank, and owing to its being all sand, was a source of con- 
tinual annoyance from washes. In order to protect it, the Trustees 
ordered timbers to be sunk in the ground, and lapped or pinned in the 
middle, running oblique to the top of the bluff bank to protect it 
against washing. Before the lower tier of timbers had been laid, a 
heavy rain came, and had it continued much longer, the whole bank, 
timbers and all, would have been washed into the river ; as it was, great 
damage was done and most of the work had to be done over anew. 
Instead of excavating, great fills had to be made. Finally the land- 
ing was completed and received, and Nathaniel F. Ruggles appointed 
harbor master at a salary of twenty-five dollars per annum It was a 
most difficult matter at that time, to determine upon an equitable sys- 
tem of taxation, and frequent committees were appointed to investi- 
gate, and suggest the best plan. On February 2, 1824, a committee 
consisting of Samuel Stites and Nathaniel F. Ruggles, reported a plan 
as follows ; "Having matured the subject, we report as follows : that 


a tax of fifty cents be levied on each white male over twenty-one years 
and on all blacks over sixteen years, which we estimate will yield 
sixty dollars, and further, that a tax of twenty-five cents each be levied 
on one hundred and eleven lots lying in the north section of the town, 
and on sixty-nine lots lying in the south section. That a tax of one 
dollar and twenty-five cents be levied on sixty lots; that a tax of three 
dollars be levied on fifteen lots lying north of the Public Square, and 
sixteen dollars be levied on eight lots; that a tax of one dollar and 
twenty five cents be levied upon each ten-acre lot." 


At this meeting of the Trustees, several ordinances were j^assed 
for the better regulation of the revenues of the town. Among the 
number was an ordinance making it unlawful for any owner, agent, 
consignee or commander of any boat or craft, to vend any goods, 
wares or merchandise, by retail at any of the landings of the town, 
without first procuring a license to do so, the said license being fixed 
at twenty dollars for three months, and only during the daytime ; also 
making it unlawful for any peddler or itinerant person to sell without 
having procured a license, which was fixed at five dollars for one 
month. Another ordinance was passed, making it unlawful for any 
person to erect buildings or any obstructions whatever in the streets, 
and requiring all persons to apply to the Surveyor of the town for cor- 
rect lines. For a violation of this ordinance, the party offending 
should, upon conviction, pay a fine of five dollars per day so long as 
the obstruction was permitted to remain. Another ordinance made it 
a penalty for any one to take sand from the river front, without first 
having obtained permission from the '' Harbor Master," and for a 
violation, a penalty of five dollars attached for each and every offense. 

James Rouse was appointed collector of the town tax, and re- 
quired to execute a bond of one thousand dollars, and his salary fixed 
at twenty-five dollars. The disposition of land grabbers to fence up 
streets and public highways had been made so manifest, it became 
necessary for the Trustees to ride over the tawn every two or three 
days, in order to keep up with this notoriously greedy class. Charles 
Buck, who had set claim to a great part of the town was conspicuous 
among this number of men. The Trustees had passed frequent or- 
ders in specific cases, but in order to cover all, a general order was 
passed May, 1824, directing all persons under penalty, to remove their 
fences from off of the streets by the first day of January, 1825. 

The salary of the Town Clerk was fixed at twenty five dollars, 
and, whereas, it was found inconvenient to collect the tax on frac- 


tional parts of many of the lots, the Trustees at their July meeting 
ordered the Collector to collect on all such lots at the rate of four 
cents per foot, fronting on each street. Robert Speed was granted 
permission to mal<e .brick on thePublic Square, on a part of the ground 
now occupied by the Barrett House, provided he would enter into 
bond of five hundred dollars penalty to grade first cross street to a 
level from Main or market, as it was then called, to Water Street. At 
the August meeting the following ordinance was passed : "Ordered, 
that from and after this time, no person shall be permitted to bathe in 
the Ohio River between the steam mill landing and Mrs. Husband's 
landing, between sunrise and sunset, under the penalty of five dol- 
lars, if a white person, and fifteen lashes, well laid on, by the Town 
Sergeant, if a colored person." 

Nathaniel F. Ruggles was allowed forty-three dollars and seventy- 
five cents for work done on the bridge across the ditch, near the steam 
mill landing. This allowance will give some idea of the immensity of 
the ditches at that time on the public roads or streets. At this time, 
there was an immense pond near the seminary lot, and all of that ter- 
ritory between Elm and Green Streets, and above Upper Third, was 
a flat, covered with water during most of the year. From Rev. Joel 
Lambert's residence, then immediately in the rear of David Clark's 
present home, pedestrians were compelled to foot it to the upper end 
of the town before a crossing to Main Street could be had Samuel 
Stites, N. F. Ruggles and George Morris, were appointed commis- 
sioners to contract for the draining of the pond near the seminary 
and the flat on back street, and to superintend the work necessary to 
secure the outlet of the ditch leading from said pond and flat. 

Over one hundred dollars was appropriated for building bridges 
over ditches, during the month of September, and double the amount 
for draining ponds in various parts of the town. This being true, can 
it be wondered that Henderson was so unhealthy. From 1822 to 182(5 
Gobin & Webster and Leonard H. Lyne, had blacksmith shops on the 
Public Square, and James Rouse, a slaughter house, for the use of 
which, they paid the town five dollars each. 

A new act concerning the town was passed by the Legislature, 
and approved by the Governor, November 21. This act has been re- 
ferred to before as the one in which Buck, Alves and Hart took a 
lively interest. It is the act which reduced the limits of the town, 
and turned over to Alves and Hart all of the lots below fourth lower 
cross street, including streets and riverfront. It also conferred upon 


the Trustees the power to levy any amount of taxes on said town, not 
exceeding two hundred and fifty dollars. It also provided that when 
a party owing taxes failed to pay by the appointed time, the Collector 
should advertise one month and proceed to sell all of the lot or lots, 
or enough thereof, to cover the taxes, costs and ten per cent, for sell- 
ing. It also provided for the redemption of the property by payment 
of the purchase money, with interest thereon at the rate of fifty per 
cent, per annum. It provided for the laying off of the streets into 
precincts, and the appointment of surveyors thereof. It required 
every male, over eighteen years of age, within the bounds, or who was 
allotted to a surveyor, to labor on said streets any number of days 
not exceeding six in each year, or two days in any one month, and in 
case of failure or refusal, a fine of five dollars was to be assessed 
and collected. It required the Trustees to hold at least three stated 
meetings in every year, to wit: on the first Saturday in May, July, 
and October, and assessed a fine of five dollars upon any Trustee for 

failure to attend. 


On the fourth day of Ma}^, Samuel Calvan Sugg was hung in the 

Public Square for the murder of Elijah Walton. 

The old Union Chuich, the first house built exclusively for reli 
gious worship, was erected this year on the Public Square, and stood 
on the hill almost opposite the present residence of Nick Becker, on 
Lower First, between Main and Elm Streets. 

There were but two meetings of the Town Trustees held during 
this vear. From the following record it would seem that the official 
board of the town, as 'well as the citizens, were at outs: "Be it re- 
membered, that a Board of Trustees could not be convened agree- 
ably to an act of Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, passed 
at the session of 1825, to pass the necessary ordinances for the bet- 
ter regulation of the town. The Trustees, however, feeling a dispo- 
sition to do all that was necessary, when it was practicable to obtain 
a meeting, did meet on the third day of July, 1826, and passed ordi- 
nances which, if carried into effect by the united efforts of the citi- 
zens, would have made all the repairs nscessary for the convenience 
and good order of the town. But finding their acts were not techni- 
cally supported by the existing laws, and some of the citizens, through 
lethargy, idleness, and a want of public spirit, refused to unite their 
aid in support of measures for their common benefit. Therefore, be 
it ordained, that the ordinances passed at the said last meeting be 
and are hereby repealed ; and thereupon Nathaniel F. Ruggles, Sam 


iiel Stites, George Morris and John W. Mosely resigned." There were 
no more meetings from this day, to wit, July 7, 1826, to May 9, 1827. 


On the fifth day of May an election was held, and VViatt H. In- 
gram, Nathaniel F. Ruggles, George Atkinson, John Spidel and Wil- 
liam D. Allison were duly elected Trustees for the ensuing year. 

The Board met May 9, and organized. The streets of the town 
were then divided into three precincts, and Joel Lambert, Abram 
Scott and Dr. Owen Glass appointed surveyors. 

A general turnout of all the males of the city of legal age with 
spades, picks, etc., was ordered, as will be seen from the following : 
" Ordered, that Joel Lambert, Abram Scott and Dr. Owen Glass 
warn the hands in their respective precincts to meet on Tuesday 
morning next, the fifteenth, just at sunrise, if fair, if not, on the next 
day, at the Court House, with hoes and spades, to work on the public 
streets, as the Trustees may then and there direct, under the penalty 
prescribed by law, for two days in succession." 

At a meeting of the Trustees held June 4, we find another ditch 
and pond order : "Nathaniel F. Ruggles and Wiatt H. Ingram, who 
were appointed commissioners to view and examine the ditch by the 
Market House and report how it might be drained, having performed 
that duty, Report, That the best practicable mode of draining the 
same is to cut a ditch down Main Street, about twelve feet from the 
line of the lots on the west side of said street, from' the Market 
House to the lower end of the town, which being approved, it is or- 
dered that a ditch be opened accordingly." 

For that purpose, therefore, the order required Mrs. Shackelford 
and John Spidel, who were most deeply interested in the pond near 
the Court House, to furnish one hand each for the space of two 
months, and Mr. Ruggles appointed to purchase, in the name of the 
Trustees, six spades. This ditch accounts for the great ravines along 
the river front. If it be doubted, however, the following order is re- 
produced to show the origin of the ravine on fourth lower cross 


March 8 : " Whereas, a subscription has been raised for the 
purpose of draining the pond near the Court House by opening the 
ditch from the Market House down Main Street. It is ordered that 
John Green be and he is appointed a commissioner to superintend 
the opening of said ditch, and he is authorized and directed to cut 


the said ditch at right angles, from the main street to the river, along 
fourth cross street, below the Public Square, fifteen feet from the 
line of lots on the north side of said cross street." 

After having paid out hundreds of dollars of public and private 
funds in ditching and draining ponds and bridging ditches, the Trus- 
tees fixed the salary of the Town Assessor at eight dollars for the 
year. The Spidel House, on the corner of Main and First Streets — 
now the Barret House — which had been begun in 1827, was com- 
pleted this year and thrown open to the local and traveling public. It 
was originally only two stories, with the front of the second story one 
room, used for a dining-room and public hall. The frame ell was 
built a short time after the completion of the brick. 

In 1855 and 1856 Martin S. Hancock, who had become the 
owner, unroofed the old Spidel — then known as the Taylor — House and 
reconstructed it by adding a third story and brick elL Nimrod 
Grisby, a contracting carpenter, then living in Henderson, built the 
frame addition, and one of his most expert manipulators of the old- 
fashioned whip-saw, was our now much-beloved fellow-citizen, Judge 
Philo H. Hillyer. Aside from the hewed timbers in this building, 
the studding, weather-boarding and flooring were sawed by hand with 
the whip-saw. 

It is said General Zachariah Taylor spent a great part of this 
year in the town and clerked for one of the firms doing business on 
Main Street*at that time. 

The farming interest had grown to greater importance, and for 
those times a considerable amount of country produce found its way 
to market. Wiatt H. Ingram, then one of the most progressive mer- 
chants of the town, became a heavy purchaser and shipper, and 
boats being scarce he would go with a company of men and whip- 
saws to Green River, and there get out lumber and build him boats of 
sufficient capacity to hold his purchases. When completed he would 
float down to Henderson, load with produce and then go to New Or- 
leans, where he would sell both produce and boats. 

The law firm of Morris & Dixon was the only one advertised 
this year. Drs. Glass and Gaither and W. H. Allen, practicing physi 
cians, and J. B. Pollitt & Co., James Gobin, merchants, advertised 
extensively. Orrin Fay was the largest advertiser, and had, perhaps, 
the most complete and extensive stock of any merchant in the town. 
He was a liberal trader and proposed to sell his goods either for cash 
or feathers. 


Fellows & Ruggles were also large merchants. 

On the first day of January of this year, fifty letters were adver- 
tised as remaining in the Postcffice uncalled for. The following no- 
tice to steamboat pilots was published : 

" Notice. — A series of piles, occupying an extent of about 400 
yards, has been firmly set in the bed of the river at Henderson Isl- 
and as indicated by several poles rising eight feet from the tops of the 
piles. Boats may pass them in safety by running within 300 yards 
of the island near its lower extremity. 

"S. W. LONG." 

This was government work and done to deepen the channel of 
the river, which at that point was almost impassible during low water. 


It was determined this year to build a permanent wharf, and for 
that purpose an act of the Legislature of 1828-29 was passed, vesting 
full and ample powers in the Trustees to raise a loan within the limits 
of $2,000, for the purpose of grading and paving Steam Mill Land- 
ing, to be redeemed out of the taxes by annual installments. George 
Atkinson and Nathaniel F. Ruggles were appointed commissioners 
for the purpose of taking subscriptions for stock, founded on the 
pledge of the taxes annually for its redemption, bearing interest at 
the rate of 6 per cent, per annum, and said commissioners were au- 
thorized to cause the said landing to be graded and paved in a sub- 
stantial manner and to report when completed. On the fourteenth 
day of September, 1831, the Commissioners reported, and laid before 
the Board a statement of account of the amount expended, and the 
same was approved. The first paid wharf was then received, and the 
Treasurer authorized and directed to issue scrip to the several parties 
entitled thereto for the sums subscribed. 

An order was passed at the June meeting, making it a penalty 
for any slave to offer for sale any article whatever, without the con- 
sent of his or her master or mistress. 


Only one meeting of the Board of Trustees was held this year. 
During the year the old market house fell down and the Collector 
was directed to sell the roof and brick, and pay over the proceeds to 
the Treasurer. 


December 15, Edmund H. Hopkins and Will D. Allison were ap- 
pointed a committee to examine all of the laws in relation to the 
town, and report. Only two meetings of the Board were held this 



It was ordered that the pond near the jail and Court House, 
which had been an interminable source of annoyance and expense, 
be drained by digging a ditch in First Street to Main, down Main to 
First Street below the Square, and with that street to the head of the 
ravine, which at that time was making up into the street. This was 
done, and many citizens of the town now living remember the result 
of that foolish order. 


James Rouse, Town Assessor, returned his book May 3 and the 
same was approved, and thereupon the following rate and amount of 
tax to be collected was fixed by the Board : " It is ordained by the 
Board that the Collector for the year 1834 collect from each person 
subject to pay taxes, the sum of twenty five cents on every one hun- 
dred dollars valuation of property, and one dollar from each and every 
free male inhabitant over the age of twenty years." 

A wharfage fee of fifty cents per day was ordered to be collected 
from each trading boat landing at the public landings. 

Great complaint was made by the merchants of the town at the 
order of the Board fixing the rate and amount of taxation, whereupon 
the following order was passed at the October meeting : " It ap- 
pearing to the satisfaction of the Board that a tax of twenty five 
cents on each one hundred dollars value of merchandise, is unequal 
and oppressive upon the merchants, it is therefore ordained, that 
all merchandise and groceries in the town be taxed in the following 
manner, to-wit : Hugh Kerr & Co. and George Atkinson & Co. each 
pay a tax of ten dollars annually, and that Samuel Stites, Wiatt H. 
Ingram, Marshall & Rankin, Dixon & Smith, Bayless Chamblin and 
Mr. Halstead pay each a tax, of seven dollars and fifty cents, that is 
to say seven dollars and fifty cents for each house; and that Thomp- 
son & Johnson, William Hart, Holmes & Beall, Joshua Mullin, Robert 
G. & Paschal Rouse and Fountain Cunningham, each pay a tax of 
five dollars annually, and that David H. Hillyer & Bro. pay a tax of 
three dollars annually on merchandise." 

At the same meeting an order was passed appointing John D. 
Anderson, Joseph Cowan, John Green and Edmund H. Hopkins a 
committee to contract for filling up, stopping and securing the ravine 
making from the river to the Public Square on first cross street below 
the Square. One hundred and fifty dollars was appropriated for the 
purpose, and every dollar of it spent, but how, no one now knows. 



The first case of small-pox of which anything is known made its 
appearance in Joshua Mullin's* tavern in February. If the citizens 
were frightened, or the least uneasy about it, that fact was not mani- 
fested in the special meeting of the Board, held February 27, The 
town had no hospital for the sick, but its Trustees had an abundance 
of fellow-feeling, as will be seen from the following order : " It is 
ordered that Joshua Mullin be authorized to employ nurses and phys- 
icians for the sick man, at his, the sick man's expense, if able to pay, 
if not, at the expense of the Trustees. It having been further repre- 
sented to the Trustees that said Mullin intends, or threatens exposing 
said man to the inclemency of the weather, by turning him out of 
doors, the Trustees respectfully advise said Mullin to abandon all 
such intentions, as they are of opinion that his, said Mullin's, person 
and property would be in imminent danger from such a proceeding 
so abhorent to the feelings of humanity." 

In addition to the amount set apart to be expended in stopping 
the ravine on Lower First Street, the County Court appropriated two 
hundred dollars to be expended by E. L. Starling and Thomas 
Towles, Magistrates, in the same direction. These gentlemen caused 
a fill to be made across the ravine twenty feet wide, not only stop- 
ping the ravages of high water, but furnishing ample passage way for 
vehicles and footmen passing up and down Main Street. This fill re- 
mained intact until the ravine was filled to the line of Main Street in 
1855 and 1856. 

John Spidel died this year, and his tavern was sold to Cornelius 
Fellows, of Louisville, for three thousand six hundred and one dol- 
lars. In 1838 Fellows sold the same to Livingston Taylor for five 
thousand one hundred and thirty-one dollars. On the twelfth of 
March, 1846, Taylor sold to Martin S. Hancock for eight thousand 
dollars cash. 

The town tax for 1835 was fixed at twenty-five cents on each one 
hundred dollars valuation, and a head tax of one dollar upon each 
male citizen residing in the town over the age of twenty-one years. 
In lieu of all other taxes on merchandise a graded specific tax rang- 
ing from live to ten dollars was levied. 

The new Steam Mill wharf needed repairs, and for that purpose 
the Town Treasurer was directed to issue and sell $500 worth of 
scrip, redeemable one year after date. The ravine in the Public 
Square, from hard rams, continued to wash and cave. 


* 1836. 

James E. Rankin and James Alves were requested to solicit sub- 
scriptions for the purpose of arresting tiie caving of the ravine. The 
first order looking to a permanent improvement was made at the Au- 
gust meeting this year. It was ordained that Main or Market Street, 
as then known, from First to Third Street and Mill or Second Street, 
from Water to Elm Street be paved with brick or stone eisfht feet 
wide, to be completed by September 1, 1837, and to be done at the 
expense of persons owning the lots fronting on the streets. It was 
further ordained that anyone owning a workshop, found guilty of 
throwing shavings into the streets, should be fined. 

The total debt of the town at the beginning of this year was 
five hundred and thirty-three dollars and eighty-one cents for bor- 
rowed money, officers' fees, etc. Upon an investigation it was found 
that the Collectors had not settled for the past three or four years, 
and stringent orders were issued to bring them to time. 


The Board of Trustees elected for this year were evidently de- 
termined to keep step with the progress of the times. New officers were 
elected and positive orders passed looking to a speedy settlement of 
delinquent taxes and with delinquent Collectors. The Treasurer was 
ordered to effect a settlement at all hazzards, with all persons indebted 
to the town. After having given attention to all matters financial, 
they then turned their attention to the pond and ravine difficulties. 
A committee was appointed to report the best and most practicable 
method of draining the pond at the corner of First and Elm Streets, 
and of securing the ravines from further washing. No source of 
annoyance has ever so successfully baffled the skill of early time in- 
tellects as the ponds and general drainage of the little town of Hen- 

This was a year of compliments and none was more highlv ap- 
preciated than that paid Thomas Towles, Jr., Town Assessor, for the 
year. On the twenty second day of May Mr. Towles was appointed 
Assessor, and on the fourteenth day of July returned his book, which 
was received and highly approved by resolution. In consideration 
of his most excellent work he was allowed twenty dollars, ten dollars 
more than had ever been allowed before. 

At the same meeting William D. Allison, Clerk of the Board, 
whose work amounted to as much as that of clerks who are now 


paid handsome salaries, was paid fifteen dollars for one year's ser- 
vices. ' 

At the August meeting an ordinance was passed fixing the license 
upon all public exhibitions for which money was demanded, the sum 
of three dollars for the* first day and two dollars for each day subse- 

For some reason, which the records of 1838 failed to explain, the 
Trustees became alarmed concerning the carrying or concealing of 
unlawful weapons by the colored population. They, therefore, at their 
October meeting, ordered " That James Rouse, W. P. Smith, Fountain 
Cunningham, William R. Abbott, James W. Clay, Henry L. Taylor, 
James Williams, William F. Quinn, James H. Green, William H. 
Cunningham, Robert J. Rouse, Thomas Towles, Jr., Joseph D. 
Gobin be appointed to search all suspected negro premises for unlaw- 
ful weapons or stolen property, and that they have power to enter and 
search all suspected places, that they arrest and bring before the 
Board all negroes having unlawful weapons, and that they seize the 
weapons, etc." 

For clerical reasons it was ordered that Rev. Thomas Evens be 
released from the future payment of town tax.^ There were two wharf- 
boats lying at Henderson this year upon which a specific tax of five 
dollars each was assessed. 


For many years prior to 1840, indeed from the earliest recollec- 
tion of Henderson, several of the streets and roads of the town were 
used for horse racing. It was the custom in early times, during the three 
days' elections, tor sporting men of the county (and there were many 
of them) to meet in the town and test the speed of their horses, and 
then by appointment to test the superiority of their own pugilistic quali- 
ties. Horse racing and ring-fighting were attractions calculated to 
draw great crowds, and great crowds did attend. 

One of the favorite tracks for racing was on Elm Street from 
Upper Fifth to the foot of the hill, near the present residence of Hon. 
P. B. Matthews. This source of mascu'ine and animal punishment, 
as well as amusement, had become notorious. It was degrading, cer- 
tainly demoralizing, and as a general thing the chief actors were ig- 
norant men whose sole ambition was to be regarded as the " best 
man " or the owner of the best " nag." The best people became 
disgusted and tired of it, and at the July meeting it was ordained by 
the Trustees, ** That any person or persons guilty of running or rac- 



ing any horse or horses or of causing the same to be done by any 
other person or persons, the party thus offenchng should be punished 
by a fine of three dollars." 

The course on the part of the Trustees, very properly had, to a 
great extent, the desired effect. 

The Trustees directed the Collector to collect this year, in addi- 
tion to the tax levied upon each and every white male over the age of 
twenty-one years, one dollar from each and every free colored male 
over the age of sixteen years as a poll-tax. A specific tax was also 
levied upon the owners and proprietors of grocery stores, farmers' 
produce and boat stores, varying from $5 to $15. 

Owing to the growth of the town and the multiplied duties of offi- 
cials most of the salaries were raised. The clerk was raised from 
fifteen to forty dollars, the Assessor from fifteen to thirty, and so on. 

Owing to the increase of grog shops and the manifest determi- 
nation of that class of dealers to reap a monied harvest, even though 
contrary to law and good morals, and also the trouble and annoyance 
experienced by the owners of slaves on that account, at the Decem- 
ber meeting the Board of Trustees unanimously passed the following 
ordinance offered by Lazarus W. Powell : 

*• jBe it Ordained by the Tnisteef of the Town of Henderson: 

"That it shall be, and is hereby made, the duty of the Town Sergeant, or 
either of his assistants, to punish, with any number of lashes not exceeding 
ten, all or any negro slave or slaves who may be found in any grog shop, gro- 
cery, or other place where spirituous liquors are retailed in said town, or who 
may be found on the streets of said town after ten o'clock at night, unless it 
shall appear to the said Town Sergeant, or assistant, that said negro slave or 
slaves, are acting under the orders of his, her, or their master or mistress ; 
and it shall further be the duty of the Town Sergeant, or either of his assist- 
ants, to enter into any grog shop, grocery, or other place where spirituous 
liquors are retailed, in said town, whenever he shall be informed that any such 
negro slave or slaves are collected therein. Provided, said Town Sergeant, or 
assistant, can enter the same peaceably and without force." 


At the June meeting it was ordered that Mill, or Second Street, 
between Main and Elm, be graded, and that the depth of grade be 
fixed by the Commissioners appointed for that purpose. It was also 
ordered that Main, between First and Third, be graded in the same 
way. It was also ordered that sidewalks, ten feet in width, be laid 

From the records it appears that the Trustees of the town ex- 
perienced equally as much trouble in controlling the hogs as has been 


by the Council the past ten years. The town pump stood in the in- 
tersection of Main and Second, or Mill Street, and its frequent use 
kept the ground wet and sloppy. For this reason, then, the hogs 
congregated at that spot, and several times came near rootmg the 
pump out of its position. To prevent this, a special meeting of the 
Board was called, and a committee appointed to go and examine the 
public well, and character of hogs thereat, and report, instanier, the 
best plan of preventing the nuisance or the destruction of the pump. 
It was a-reed to fill around with broken brick, and in front of the 
spout to'place a large flat rock, at a cost of several dollars, and to 
let the hogs continue to run and root. 


Deli-hted the town with the first theatrical troupe ever seen in the 
place This troupe played in the second story of the Court 
House a medium sized room seated with ordinary plank benches, 
withou't backs, and capable of holding from one hundred and fifty 
to two hundred persons. The troupe was largely patronized and 
played for a week or more, at the urgent solicitation of the people. 
As usual the manager complained of the town tax assessed upon 
them and petitioned the Trustees for a reduction, and, as an evidence 
of how delighted the people were, the Trustees, after consideration 
of the petition, passed the following order : 

" // is ordered that the said petitioners he and they are hereby exempted 
and exoneratedfrom paying any town tax for the time they have performed 

and so long as they may remain at this tifner 

There were in Henderson this year four tobacco stemmeries— 
George Atkinson, A. B. Barrett, David R. Burbank and Hugh Kerr. 
A motion was made for the first time to tax the stemmeries, and a 
vote being taken upon the propriety of such tax being assessed, it 
was decided in the affirmative and the Collector directed to collect 
with other specific taxes, ten dollars from each of the stemmeries 

named. . r j 

From the following order, passed August 14, 1841, it is inferred 
that the Trustees of the town were of a Uberal turn of mind. The 
Public Square needed ornamentation, and as it had been donated to 
public uses, the Trustees determined that it should be. It was there- 
fore "Ordered that four Horse Racks be erCcted at such places on 
the Public Square as a committee appointed for that purpose may di- 
rect ; each rack must be twenty feet long, and supported by three 
posts well set in the ground, and of good, sound, lasting wood ; there 


must also be ten pins to each rack." This was clone and the bill, 
twenty-five dollars, paid out of the public funds. 

George Chapman, father of the renowned Chapman Sisters, 
prayed the Trustees to exhibit his theatrical performances free of 
tax. This was refused, but a very liberal reduction was made him. 

Isaac Gayle, a slave of George Gayle, was the leading town 
contractor at this time. His work in repairing the wharf and grading 
Main street was received and pronounced well done. 

Edmund H. Hopkins, President of the Board of Trustees, at 
the December meeting presented his letter of resignation. It is a 
very lengthy paper, gracefully written, and full of that fine sense for 
which this great chancery lawyer was so noted. He presented a full 
review of the town's troubles, and suggested many ideas of value, 
which were afterwards adopted and resulted to the great benefit of 
the struggling town. 


On January 1, the Treasurer's report showed credit $2,478.86 ; 
amount of debts, $2,453.12; balance, cash in the Treasurey, $25.74. 
A general system of ordinances had been adopted, covering every im- 
portant point, and the clerk directed to record them in a well bound 
book, and to have three hundred copies of the general ordinances 
printed in pamphlet form. The charter had been amended, so as to 
confer upon the Board all needful authority. The town was now out 
of debt, and nothing was necessary but for the Trustees to exercise 
good judgment, and a liberal spirit of progress. The Trustees at this 
time were progressive men, but a majority of the people were still 
plodding along in the old fogy rut in which they had floundered for 
years. A memorial was sent to the Senators and Representatives at 
Frankfort, praying an alteration or amendment of the charter. The 
amendment as sent up was passed, and approved by the Governor 
February 24. The first order of a sanitary nature by the Board of 
Trustees since Henderson was established as a Town, was passed on 
motion of Alexander D. Barrett, a member of the Board at their meet- 
ing June 25. It was as follows: "Ordered, that for the better 
preservation of the health of the town, the lot owners and tenants of 
lots be required to cut down all noxious weeds within their lots or in- 
closures, and also in and to the middle of the street, and in case of 
failure to do so within the next ten days, all persons so defaulting 
shall be subject to a fine of ten dollars." 

At the July meeting, the Trustees in levying the amount of tax 
to be collected for the year, reduced the ad valorem tax to eighteen and 


three-fourth cents on the one hundred dollars, and fixed the poll tax 
at the same it had been for several years previous. 
The following specific taxes were levied : 


George Atkinson, $10.00; Alexander B. Barrett, $10.00; David 
R. Burbank, $10.00; Hugh Kerr & Co., $10.00, 


Livingston G.Taylor, $15.00 ; Jacob Held, $15.00 ; William Quinn, 
$12.50 ; Joshua Mullin, $12.00. 


Stephen Medd, $7.50 ; Robert Clark, $10.00 ; William N. Thomp- 
son, $10.00 ; Joseph Adams. $15.00. * 


Joanna Holmes, $15.00; Lewis Ritchie, $5.00, John B. Burke, 
$6.00; Joseph Bunce, $12.50. 


James Rouse, $5.00. At a special meeting called August 25, for 
the purpose of considering a supposed case of small-pox, all of the 
physicians of the town, to-wit .-"Drs. Glass, Maddox, Allen, Newland, 
Read and Thornton, were notified and requested to visit the said case 
instanta, and report to the Board, whether the case was really small- 
pox. The physicians attended in a body, and returned the gratifying 
report that it was not small-pox, 

On motion of A. B. Barrett, he was authorized to contract with 
Isaiah S. Keen for inclosing the cemetary, corner Elm and Fourth 
Streets, at a price not to exceed one hundred and thirty-five dollars, 
and Joseph D. Gobin was allowed twelve and one-half cents for re- 
moving one dead cat from a ditch below the Taylor House. 

At the July meeting of the Trustees it was "Ordered that a brick 
tunnel of sufficient capacity for carrying off the water from Mill and 
Water Streets, be built from the top of the bank at the foot of Mill 
Street, such distance down the bank as the committee should think 
proper. Also, that a paved wharf thirty-six feet wide, not less than 
one foot deep, of concave form, with a gutter in the middle, be built." 

The Wharfmaster's fees for freight received upon his wharfboat 
were fixed as follows: "For one ton or more in same lot, twenty 
cents per ton ; for less than one ton, and over five hundred pounds, at 
the rate of twenty-five cents per ton ; for five hundred pounds and un- 
der, at the rate of forty cents per ton ; for a single package, ten cents, 



In 1842-3, the town was the owner of a fire engine, but where it 
came from, or what was the cost of it, no one knows. The probability 
is the Uttle concern was a failure, for at the March meeting 1844, an 
order was entered of record directing the Town Sergeant to sell the 
engine, either at public or private sale upon a credit of three months. 
August 12, it was "Ordered that the Town Sergeant suppress all negro 
preaching and negro meetings within the limits of the town, of nights 
in the future." 

During this year, a determined effort was made by the Trustees 
to prevent further washing of the river front, and to fill up several 
ravines already encroaching upon the town. A citizens' fund was 
raised — two hundred dollars appropriated by the Trustees, and three 
hundred dollars by the Countv Court. With this a wide fill was made 
across the ravine at First Street below the square, a twenty-foot fill 
made around the corner of lot No. 1, corner First and Water Streets, 
and an embankment along Water Street, from Third to Seventh, with 
four four-foot plank tunnels or outlets to the river. Notwithstanding 
the efforts of the Trustees, and the large amount of money expended, 
it is a fact that where each one of the four tunnels were placed there 
occurred a break in the bank, and fearful washing away of the front, 
carrying with it the plank tunnels. It would have been better had 
the Trustees let matters take its course, but it was commendable at 
least, to know that they endeavored to do the best that could be done 
in their judgment. At this time a general impro\ement of the prin- 
cipal streets and pavements was being made, new merchants were 
coming in, and a brighter outlook hovered over the town. 

At the March meeting it was determined to erect a market house 
on pitlars, one-story high, with a calaboose at one end for the use of 
the town. Upon petition of Strangers' Rest Lodge, Independent Or- 
der of Odd Fellows, permission was given them to build a second 
story, thirty feet long, eight feet high, to be used as a Lodge room. 
This building was erected on Main Street, opposite the Hancock, now 
Barrett House, and in 1852 it was burned, supposed to have been the 
act of an incendary. 

A novel way of preventmg the spread of small-pox appears of re- 
cord at the meeting of the Trustees November 7. A Mr. Ashby, a 
merchant from Madisonville, had landed in the town with small-pox, 
and was placed in a house opposite the old cemetery. The attention 


of the Trustees having been called to this, it was ordered tiiat a high 
jence be built across Elm Street at each corner of the cemetery lot, to 
prevent the spread of the disejise. The street was fenced across in 
two places, and no one permitted to pass until Ashby recovered, when 
the street was again opened. 


On the thirtieth day of July a stringent order was passed by the 
Board of Trustees, concerning night walkers, and under this order the 
Town Sergeant was directed to ring the Court House bell every night 
at nine o'clock, and that all slaves, night walkers and disorderly per- 
sons found strolling about in the night fifteen minutes after that time, 
should be arrested and dealt with according to law. At the ringing 
of the bell, but few persons were to be seen on the streets, and those 
who were out made haste to avoid the town watch. On the twenty- 
fifth day of August, an ordinance was passed directing the lot holders, 
whether citizens of the town or otherwise, on both sides of Mill Street, 
between Elm and Back, now Green Street ; the north side of Water, 
between First and Second, the south side of First, between Water and 
Elm, both sides of Main lying between Third and Fourth, the north- 
east side of Elm, between first cross and Mill or second cross streets, 
to grade and pave sidewalks as may be in front of their respective 
lots. The grade was to be furnished by the Trustees, by marked 
posts. The sidewalks were to be ten feet wide, except Water Street, 
where eight feet was only required. The sidewalks to be constructed 
of brick, the curbing to be stone or sound white oak, post oak, or 
black locust, timber sawed or hewed on all four sides, and not less 
than four inches thick and nine inches wide. Many persons were 
permitted to use public or river gravel in making their walks in place of 
brick. This was the second order passed by the Trustees looking to the 
permanent improvement of the sidewalks of the town. Another appro- 
priation was asked of the County Court, to be spent on the ravine on 
Lower First Street, and that body with becoming liberality, donated 
another three hundred dollars to be washed into the Ohio River. The 
town was laid ofif into four working districts, and for the better pro- 
tection and improvement of the streets, a supervisor of each district 
was appointed, and directed to call upon the citizens of his district, 
whenever necessary, to turn out with working tools and repair or im- 
prove the streets. Be it said to their credit, the citizens did, when- 
ever necessary, respond to the supervisor's notice with commendable 
zeal, and by this means the streets were kept in sufficient repair at no 
expense to the Town Treasury, G. A. Mayor, who carried on the 


gunsmithing business on Mill or Second Street, asked to be relieved 
from the penalties of the ordinance against firing guns in the town. 
His petition was granted upon condition he would build a good and 
substantial battery of wood, back of his house, the same to be exam- 
ined and approved by Joseph D. Gobin, one of the Trustees. 

The old hospital on the river front, between Eleventh and 
Twelfth Upper Streets was built this year. Many years afterwards, 
it was occupied by old Jack Shingler, the noted fisherman, who died 
in it neglected and almost forgotten. By an order of the Board of 
Trustees, the negroes were allowed the privilege of holding a meeting 
for religious worship every Friday night until ten o'clock, and every 
Sunday afternoon until sundown. 

July 27, the Trustees repealed this order, and passed in lieu there- 
of, an order prohibiting slaves from preaching or assembling for relig- 
ious worship at night, but granting them the privilege of holding Sun- 
day afternoon meeting. 


Owing, perhaps, to past stringent orders concerning negro wor- 
ship, the citizens became anxious and interested in their spiritual wel- 
fare ; they, therefore, at the February meeting of the Board of Trustees 
presented a plan of worship, embodied in a petition, which they asked 
to be adopted. The following is the order of the Board : " Mr. F. Cun- 
ningham presented the petition of sundry citizens with regard to in- 
structing the negroes in the way of salvation. Mr. Samuel N. Langley 
moved to lay said petition on the table. Carried unanimously and so 
the said petition was laid on the table." 

It was the custom of old-time Trustees to deal summarily with 
all matters of public concern coming before them. It had bpen rep- 
resented that Messrs. Lyne & Terry, who owned a wharf-boat at the 
foot of Mill Street, were charging exorbitant prices for freight pass- 
ing over their boat. To remedy this, they were ordered to immedi- 
ately remove their boat from the Public Landing, and, upon failure, 
the Wharfmaster was directed to carry out the order. 

The old Trustees, also, were not merely local politicians, but 
manifested a lively interest in foreign affairs, as will be evidenced by 
the following, passed by them on motion of R. G. Beverly : 

**\Vnr<:RKAs, The members of this Board have heard with great pride and 
pleasure ot the Revokitions in Europe, and of the downfall of despotism more 
practically in Fiance ; therefore, 


^ Resolved s That we tender tlie sympathies of this Board, and of our Re- 
publican constituents, to the peop'e of France, and other parts of Europe, in 
their efforts to throw oft Monarchy. And we earnestly hope they will suc- 
ceed in establishing a Democratic Republican form of Government, in which 
the principle that ' the people arethe source of all political power,'' may be es- 
tablished " 

During this year it was determined that the three offices of 
Town Sergeant, Collector and Wharfmaster should be consolidated 
into one, and that the duties of the three be performed by one per- 
son. It was further required of said officer to furnish, for the use 
and benefit of the town during his term of office, one horse and cart 
and two able-bodied laborers. Also to superintend the said hands, 
and to see that they and the said horse and cart were employed under 
the direction of the Board of Trustees. This new officer was to be 
known as Town Sergeant, and to receive a salary of eight hundred 
dollars, and such commissions as was then allowed by law. James 
Taylor (better known as Two Horse) was unanimously appointed to 
perform the duties of the new office. 


January 22, an act of the Legislature was approved, authorizing 
the Justices of the town to sell upon such terms, and in such parcels, 
as they might deem best, the Public Square, vesting them with power 
to convey the same to the purchaser by deed of conveyance or other- 
wise. The Square was not sold under this act, but was, under a sub- 
sequent one, as will be seen further on. 

In the early part of February, a company was organized com- 
posed of James Alves, Samuel Stites, L. W. Powell, Fount Cunning- 
ham, William H. Cunningham, Edmund H. Hopkins, and others, 
under the name of the " Henderson Cemetery Co." 

On the nineteenth day of February, an act of incorporation was 
passed, authorizing them to purchase and hold for burial purposes, 
not exceeding thirty acres of land. On May 13, 1853, eighteen and 
five-eighths acres of land, lying on the Madisonville road, about one 
mile from the Court House, was conveyed to William Rankin and 
others. Trustees of the " Henderson Cemetery," for the sum of one 
thousand three hundred and ninety-six dollars and seventy-six cents, 
and soon thereafter a transfer was made to the city, and the same es- 
tablished as the public burial ground. Lots were sold and the place 
gradually improved, until now this beautiful and sacred spot, known 
as '' Fermvood,'' is one of the prettiest burial grounds in the State. 

In this same month the Cumberland Presbyterian Church was 
incorporated, with Joel Lambert, Wiatt H. Ingram, C. M. Pe^nnell, 


Edward D. McBride and John H. Lambert named as trustees. For a 
number of years this church flourished, but, from some unknown 
cause, was permitted to cease its existence, and for a long time since 
has been without a minister or congregation. In 1884 it was revived 
again, and now holds regular services. 

A system of sidewalks was adopted this year which proved to be 
at that time, not only inexpensive, but of great comfort and conveni- 
ence to the citizens generally. From Main street, or from the termi- 
nal points of sidewalks already built, flatboat gunnels, or gunwales, 
were laid down, and while it is true that in no instance were these 
timbers over two feet wide, and parties moving in opposite directions 
who happened to meet on one of them necessarily had to decide by 
lot which of the two should take the mud, they were yet so much bet- 
ter than the limitless mud tracks traveled prior to that time, no com- 
plaint was urged, but general satisfaction seemed to govern the entire 



April 15, a contract was made with William B. Vanzandt to grade 
and pave one hundred feet of Mill Street landing, as an additional 
wharf, at and for the sum of seventeen hundred dollars. 

Up to this time the town had never owned a prison house, and 
finding one to be indispensibly necessary, it was ordered, June 10, 
" That John H. Lambert and James Rouse be authorized to contract 
for the erection of a small calaboose house, or lock-up." This miser- 
able little affair was buil', as directed, at one end of the Market 
House, and, of course, no arrangement made for keeping it warm dur- 
ing the cold winter days and nights. As a speculation, or precau- 
tionary movement, it proved a sad investment both to the town and 
the Odd Fellows. Tradition has it that a wild Irishman was caged 
in it one bitter cold winter night, and that but for the continued exer- 
cise of his body he would have frozen to death ; that when he was 
released therefrom, he remarked to the officer that that room needed 
warming, and he was the very fellow to do the work » Sure enough, 
a short time afterwards, the Calaboose, Market House, Town Hall 
and Odd Fellows Lodge, with all of their books, papers and Lodge 
effects, were burned to the ground. 

The tax levy for this year was the same as for many years pre- 
vious, to wit : Twenty-five cents on the one hundred dollars valua- 
tion, one dollar on each white male over the age of twenty-one years, 
and one dollar on each free black over the age of sixteen years, and 
a specific tax as follows : 



Martin H. Hancock, $15; Wm. F. Gobin, $15; William E. 
Lambert, town and wharf-boat, $7.50. 


Joseph Adams, ^20; Jacob Held, 810; G. & J. C.Atkinson, 
$10; Alex. B. Barret, $10; John B. Hart, $15; Peter & Paul 
Semonin, $15 ; Reidhar & Millet, $20 ; Louis Reiglar, $5. 


A. B. Barret, $20 ; D. R. Burbank, $20 ; Hugh Kerr, $20 ; Rob- 
ert Clark, $20 ; William Soaper, $15. 

This was the first year, it appears, that Robert Clark and William 
Soaper had transacted the stemming business in their own name in 
the town. George Atkinson gave up the stemming business at the 
close of 1849, and sold his house to Robert Clark. 

William D. Allison, Town Clerk, was allowed the sum of forty 
dollars for his services as clerk this year. Philo H. Hillyer, Treas- 
urer, was allowed twenty-five dollars, and considering the bond these 
two officials were require^ to make and the multiplied duties heaped 
upon them, it is safe to say that men in those days served the public 
more for glory than for the pay. 

The contract made with W. B. Vanzandt for grading and paving 
Mill Street wharf during the year 1849, was changed by consent 
of parties and a new one made. More paving was required, a 
tunnel was ordered to be built from the top of the bank of brick 
to the foot of the landing. This wharf and tunnel was completed in 
December, and at the January meeting of the Trustees, 1851, was re- 
ceived and three thousand seven hundred dollars allowed the con- 
tractor, to be paid out of the revenues of 1850-51 and 1852. 


In June of this year a general ordinance directing the laying of 
brick, plank and gravel sidewalks on first, second, third and fourth 
cross streets and on parts of Water, Main, Elm and Back or Green 
Streets, was passed. 


May 6, Henry J. Eastin was employed to resurvey the town and 
directed to plant iron pins at the corner of each square. This sur- 
vey was made, and afterwards by a hotly contested and bitter elec- 
tion ratified by a vote of the people, and to this day is recognized as 
the correct survey of the city. 



A general ihiprovement of the town was inaugurated this year, 
several brick tunnels leading to the river were ordered to be built, 
principally the one at First and Second Streets. First Street was or- 
dered graded and filled from Main to Green. 


Rev. Joel Lambert, President of the Henderson & Nashville 
Railroad, at the June 2 meeting was granted the right to construct a 
tram road over Fourth Street from the depot to the river bank, on the 
following conditions : The grade of the road to correspond with the 
grade of Main and Water Stret ts, the track to be located in the cen- 
ter of the street so as not to interfere with a good carriage way on 
either side of the track. The company to have the right to convey 
along said road all the property of the company, but with animal 
power, and not to move at a speed exceeding four miles an hour, and 
at no time to obstruct the crossings. 

On the seventeenth day of June a majority of the property 
owners fronting on both sides of Main Street, from First to Upper 
Third Street, and on Mill from Water to Main, petitioned the Trustees 
of the town to grade, gravel, gutter and otherwise improve the streets, 
and obliging themselves to pay for one-half of the streets lying in 
front of their respective property. Immediately upon receipt of the 
petition, an ordinance was passed directing said improvement to be 
made. It specified that a carriage way be graded and paved, the dirt 
to be thrown up in the middle and a stone gutter constructed on each 
side of said carriage way and on the outside of the sidewalks, the 
gutters to be five feet wide and laid with stone not less than two inches 
in depth, the carriage way paved with gravel not less than ten inches 

It further directed the building of a landing fifty feet wide at the 
foot of First Street, to be paved with gravel and a stone gutter sixteen 
feet wide, and annulled the previous order directing a brick tunnel. 
This wharf, it was charged, was built in the interest of property own- 
ers near by, one or two of whom were members of the Board of Trus- 
tees at the time. It proved an expensive failure, washed away and 
came near destroying all of the adjoining property and has twice 
since been tunneled. 

This, however, was the first order or ordinance ever passed looking 
to the permanent improvement of any of the streets of the town, and, 
of course was hailed with delight by the citizens generally. 

A contract was entered into with Moses Ross to build the wharf 
at First Street for the following prices : Twelve cents per cubic yard 


for excavation, twelve cents per cubic yard for embankment, $2.75 
per perch for paving the gutter with limestone, 1Q}4 cubic feet to the 
perch, and seventy-five cents per cubic yard for all gravel put on ten 
inches thick. This wharf cost $4,152.37>^. The President of the 
Board was directed to contract for the improvement of the intersec- 
tions of the streets and also to have stepping stones put at all im- 
portant crossings. 

On November 5 many of the citizens petitioned the Board to be 
allowed to make sidewalks in front of their respective lots fifteen feet, 
instead of twelve feet wide. The prayer of the petition was granted, 
and from that time all of the principal sidewalks of the town were 
ordained to be built fifteen feet wide. 


On the eighteenth day of February an act of the Legislature was 
approved investing Henderson with all the general powers of mu- 
nicipal corporations. Under this act the town became a city and was 
divided into two wards. The First Ward included all that territory 
lying above Mill Street, and the Second Ward all that territory lying 
below Mill Street. Each ward was entitled to three Councilmen, and 
at the first election directed by this charter, it was provided that a 
poll be opened in each ward for the election of a Mayor, three Coun- 
cilmen, a City Judge, an Assessor, Marshal and Treasurer. John H. 
Lambert, James Rouse, William Brewster, L. F. Danforth, Elijah W* 
Worsham and James E. Rankin were appointed commissioners to 
superintend the organization of the city government under the char- 

On the first day of May an election was held and the following 
named persons elected : William B. Vanzandt, Mayor ; James W. 
Clay, George M. Priest and Jacob H. Fulwiler, Councilmen First 
Ward ; John H. Lambert, Barak Brashear, David H. Unselt, Coun 
cilmen Second Ward ; Worden P. Churchill, City Judge ; Solomon 
Nestler, Marshal ; Henry Lyne, Treasurer ; Young E. Allison, As- 

The eastern survey of the town was submitted at this election 
and ratified by a large majority of those voting. The last minute ot 
the clerk of the Board of Trustees is as follows : ^^ F/ie Mayor and 
Councilmen having been sworn into office^ and the archives and property 
of the town of Henderson having been delivered up to them, the Trustees 
adjourned forever and a day.^' 

The first meeting of the Mayor and the Council was held at the 
Court House on the eighth day of May, the Mayor and Council all 


present. Y. E. Allison was elected clerk. It was ordained that all 
ordinances in force at the time of the change from a town to a city 
government, should remain in full force until repealed, modified or 
amended by the Council. An ordinance establishing rules for the 
government of the Council was passed, and two night policemen em- 
ployed as assistants to the Marshal. 

It was ordered that the regular meetings of the Board be held 
on the first Tuesday in every month, at three o'clock P. M. At this 
time it was determined to change the grade of Main Street, from 
Second to sixth upper cross street. From Second to Third Street 
had been improved according to the grade established by D. N. VVal- 
den, engineer, but the Council became dissatisfied with it and passed, 
at their meeting held on the twenty-seventh, the following ordinanc • : 

' Be it ordained by the Common Council of the City of Henderson, that 
the grade of Main Street from the intersection of Main and Second Streets, 
to the intersection of Main and Sixth Streets, shall be a regular inclined plain 
from the surface at said Second to the surface at said sixth cross street." 

This ordinance necessitated the taking up of the gravel, curb 
stones and guttering already laid down between Second and Third 
Streets, a new grade and the relaying of the gravel, and rebuilding of 
the gutters, etc. On the thirtieth day of May a contract was entered 
into by and between the city and Moses Ross, to do the work at the 
following prices, and to be paid as follows: For removing 80 
perches of stone, ^40; for removing 261 feet of curb stone, S25 ; for 
removing and replacing gravel already on the street, $150, and fifteen 
cents per yard for all excavations. The property holders on both 
sides of the street to pay for all excavations, and all other expenses 
to be paid for by the city. 

On the thirty-first of May, a more liberal right of way over Fourth 
Street was granted the " Henderson & Nashville Railroad." 

The officers of the election, to be held in the following August, 
were requested to open a column in their poll book in which to take 
the sense of the citizen voters of the city as to the propriety of sub- 
scribing twenty-five thousand dollars to aid in building the " Hender- 
son & Nashville Railroad." 

In August, 1854, the Common Council purchased the interest of 
the stockholders, to wit : Edmund L. Starling, William Rankin, VV. B. 
Vandzandt, Samuel Stites, James E. Rankin, L. G. Taylor, A. B, Bar- 
rett, William E. Lambert, John N. Lambert, L. W. Powell, Joel Lam- 
bert, Solomon Nestler, F. Cunningham, Will D. Allison, George M. 
Priest, James Alves, George Atkinson, Francis Millet, Peter Semo- 


niu and D. R. Burbank, in the " Henderson Cemetery." The fol- 
lowing is a copy of the contract : 

"' The Council agree to issue scrip^to each stockholder in the compariy 
for the amount of his stock, bearing interest from the first day to May, 1853, 
and to be made payable out of the city revenues to be collected in 1855, and 
the Council assumes all the liabilities of said company, and are entitled to all 
its revenues of every kind and benefits of its charter and privileges. 


And thereupon the following ordinance was passed : 

"Be it ordained, etc.: That all persons are hereby prohibited from burying 
deceased persons in what is known as the old grave yard, or anywhere else 
within the city limits on and after this date. Further, that the Mayor have 
the old grave yard fence repaired and closed forthwith. " 

The amount of revenue to be collected for this year, as reported 
by the Collector's books, was $6,653.00, and upon this information 
Solomon Nestler, City Marshal, was directed and required to give 
additional security apon his bond. The Marshal was present when 
this order was made, and then and there refused to comply with the 
order and left the Council Chamber. At the following meeting, Au- 
gust nineteenth, Mayor Vandzant preferred articles of impeachment 
against Marshal Nestler, as follows : 

"I charge him with improperly threatening the Council and saying he 
would give them trouble when he got the tax books, I charge him with re- 
fusing to obey and execute the ordinances of the city according to the true 
spirit and obvious import of the same. I charge him with interfering with the 
Council, in endeavoring to initiate business, in trying to get ordinancrs passed 
in such shape as would suit his own views I charge him with insubordinate 
conduct toward the Council, in his insolent and unbecoming refusal to give 
additional security to his bond when required to do so by order of the Coun- 

Upon the filing of the Mayor's charges, Nestler was summoned 
to appear before the Council on some day to hear the decision of 
that body. On the thirty-first day of August he appeared and was 
put upon his trial, and after a patient hearing of the testimony, 
and arguments of the Council both for and against, he was removed 
from his office by a unanimous vote. Thereupon an election was or- 
dained to be held on September 12 to fill the vacancy, and, strange 
as it may appear, it is nevertheless true, the people refused to sustain 
the action of their Council by re-electing Nestler, and thereupon the 
Mr.yor and three or more of the Council resigned their offices. In 
November of this year, two landings were made, one at the foot of 
upper eighth cross street, and one at second lower cross street. They 


cost a large amount of money, and both washed into the river in a 
very few years after their completion. An exhibit of the amount of 
money squandered in pretending to protect the river front between 
the years 1823 and 1867 would astound the oldest inhabitant. In 
November the Courier Co??ipany were elected the first city printers of 
the town, having been awarded the contract on the first ballot over the 
Reporter. During the latter part of this year, the Ionian Debating 
Society was organized, and composed of a number of the most prom- 
ising youths of the city, many of whom have made brilliant lights in 
both commercial and political circles. This society was governed 
upon the strictest rules adopted by parlimentarians, and was the means 
no doubt, of bringing into active life, the untrained powers of strong 
native intellects. Among its members who have distinguished them- 
selves in life I am pleased to notice Hon. James F. Clay, ex-member 
of Congress, from this Congressional District, a man of great native 
and acquired ability, Hon. J. Henry Powell, a litery lecturer of na- 
tional fame, and now the unsurpassed attorney for the Commonwealth 
in this judicial district. Judge L. W. Trafton, now deceased, but who 
during life represented this county in the Legislature, and served his 
county as Judge, a strong lawyer and able reasoner, Josephus Cheaney, 
the renowned temperance lecturer, William S. Johnson, John H. and 
James R. Barret, whose splendid business achievements have made 
them the pier of any in the land, and Stephen K. Sneed, cashier of 
the Henderson Natioiial Bank, whose reputation for ability through- 
out the banking circles of the county is recognized and acknowledged. 
These gentlemen, with many others, look with pride to the days of 
this society, and love to revel in the old memories which yet cluster 
around its most interesting life. 

In the early part of 1854, James Alves additions to the city com- 
monly known as ^'' Fultyle^^ and ^' Hardscrabble^^^ were by act of the 
Legislature made a part of the city. These were then clover fields ; 
they are to-day compactly built. This was the year the young city, 
not only stood alone for the first time, but commenced walking with 
ease. The Mayor notified the County Court that she was amply able 
to take care of her own paupers and streets, and asked to be released 
from county poll tax. He asked that the apron strings hith rto bind- 
ing her, be now unloosed, and she turned loose upon the world to work 
her way to rank with other cities of the country. The order was 
granted, and from 1854, then a small place, she has gradually grown, 
until to-day she presents a bold front, and a growth absolutely com- 
manding the attention of capital from all parts of this great land. 



The Assessors books for 1855 showed a total valuation of prop, 
erty $1,191,210 and a total of polls three hundred and eleven. The 
tax levy was fixed at one dollar and fifty cents on each and every white 
male over twenty one years of age, each free colored above the age 
of sixteen, and fift}' cents on each and every one hundred dollars worth 
of property listed to the Assessor. The following specific taxes were 
levied : 


Adams & Rudy, $20.00 ; Burbank, $35.00 ; Kerr & Co., $40.00 ; 
Barret & Bro. $45.00 ; Clark & Co., $35.00 ; Soaper, $35.00. 


Millet & Co., $30.00; P. Semonin, $30.00 ; B. W. Powell, $30,00 ; 
P. F Somonin, $10.00; J. E. Rankin, $10.00; Jacob Held, $30.00; 
Spalding Unselt & Co., $30.00 ; William Brewster, $15.00; L. Reigh- 
ler, $15.00. 


Taylor House, $35.00; Mrs Eastin, $35.00; Jacob Held, $35.00; 
B. R. Curry, $35.00. 


Wm. E. Lambert, $15.00; P. B. Bryce, $10.00; B. R. Curry & 
Co., $15.00. 


Dr. Thomas Johnson, $25.00; James Rouse, $25.00; Mrs. Allin, 
$10.00 ; Dr. Redman, $10.00; John Rudy, $10.00. 


John C. Atkinson, $40.00 ; Andrw Mackay, $15.00. 

At the instance of Robert G. Beverley, a contract was entered 
into by and between the City Council, and William B. Vandzandr, at 
and for the sum of one thousand and seventy dollars, to fill the pond 
or ravine, which had engulfed the whole of the intersection at Lower 
First and Main crossing, and fully one-fifth of the northwest corner of 
the Public Square. This contract was made on the third day of July, 
and soon thereafter work was begun. An idea may be formed of the 
immense amount of earth necessary to fill up this great hole, when 
the reader is reminded that it required all of the dirt, then in the hill 
extending from Lower First Street to the center of the square, and 
that in the hill, which extended across First Street, near the corner of 



Green, running at a rapid decline across the street from the summit 
of Mrs. Burbank's property, corner Washington and Green Streets to 
the ground level of St. Paul's Episcopal Church lot. During the 
month of July, a contract was made with W. B. Vandzandt, to ex- 
hume all unknown graves, to be found in the old cemetary, on the 
corner of Fourth and Elm Streets, and remove what remains there 
were to be found, to the new burial ground on the Madisonville road, 
now known as "Fern wood." Mr. Vandzandt was actively engaged at 
this work, but it was deemed best for the public health, to defer fur- 
ther removals until the fall of the year, at which time the contract was 
completed. This sacred square of ground lot No. 58, now belongs to 
the city, and if the writer is not mistaken, the title to the old Cumber- 
land Church should be vested likewise. 

The great floating Palace^ with her chime of bells, and magnifi- 
cent circus, a new feature in the show business, delighted the citizens 
of Henderson on the afternoon and evening of the sixth day of July. 

The low land and pond around the intersection of First Upper and 
and Elm streets was filled up by order of the Common Council during 
the months of July, August and September. This fill included the lot 
back of the Court House, upon which is situated the City Building, 
First Street and lots bordering thereon, particularly the Quinn corner, 
now Robert Dixon's, and the Lawrey corner, now occupied by the 
storehouse diagonally across from Dixon's. The fill on First Street 
was made from three to three and one half feet above the pavements 
laid down at that time. Robert S. Eastin did this work under the di- 
rection of Henry J. Eastin, City Engineer. This pond, from the ear- 
liest recollection of the town, had proved an eye sore and nuisance, 
as well as an interminable expense. As before stated concerning the 
river front and its tunnels, so in this case, an exhibit of the amount 
of money expended in draining this pond, would astound the oldest 
inhabitant. It claimed the attention of several Boards of Trustees, 
to the exclusion of almost every other subject. The outbreak of chol- 
era along First Street during 1863, was attributed to the low, wet and 
filthy condition of the street and lots. There were several fatal cases 
on the square, between Elm and Green. Robert Lawrey, a very prom- 
ising young son of David Lawrey, who lived on the corner directly 
opposite the market house on Elm Street, being one of the number. 

During the summer of this year, the " Henderson Coal Company" 
sunk a coal shaft near Upper Twelfth and Water Streets. This com- 
pany bored a large hole with a small and dissatisfied auger, struck 
coal at last, commenced business with bright hopes, and finally a few 


years thereafter, wound up with the largest suit perhaps ever filed in 
the Circuit ClerU's office. The experience and end of this company 
however, did not keep others fjpm undertaking a similar enterprise 
as will be seen as this work progresses. 

October 2, a brick sidewalk, ten feet wide, was ordered laid down 
and the street graded from First Upper to Lower Second cross street. 

The city prison, built under the market house, having been burned 
and a great necessity for another experienced, a calaboose thirty feet 
long was ordered built, and was built upon the spot of ground now oc- 
cupied by the City Council Building. Mention has heretofore been 
made of the difficulties pending between the city and James Alves 
and others, concerning the title to that portion of the Public Square, 
deeded away by the citizens in 1824. The city gained the river front 
and suit was pending concerning the square. In September, a com- 
mittee of citizens approached the Council with an offer of compromise. 
The Council appointed a committee to confer in regard to such set- 
tlement. October 2, the committee on the part of the property hold- 
ers came before the Council and submitted a proposition in writing 
offering one thousand dollars, as a compromise to adjust the difficul- 
ties in the suit. This proposition was rejected, and then the Council 
submitted a proposition to accept fifteen hundred dollars, and to per- 
fect the title so far as it was in their power to the property. This 
proposition was accepted by Robert H. Alves and William Brewster, 
and that, to all intent and purposes, was an end of the Public Square 

On the sixth day of November, an order was passed permitting 
Messrs. Schraeder and Clore to build a saw mill on the river front be- 
low seventh upper cross street. 

On the thirteenth day of November, an ordinance was passed 
directing the grading, graveling, guttering, curbing and paving of 
second and third upper cross streets from Water to Green, accord- 
ing to the plan of improvement established by Henry J. Eastin, En- 
gineer. This work was all completed, save the graveling of the 
square between Elm and Green on Second Street. In compliance 
with a petition of the property owners, the Council at a meeting held 
on the fourth day of December, ordered a street forty feet wide to be 
made on the river front, from First above the Public Square to Sec. 
ond below. To do this it necessitated a fill on Water or Front 
Street across the ravine landing in First Street below the square. 
This fill was made, and that improvement has ever since been known 
as Water Street, and has proven a blessing to the city. 


At an election held in the city on the ^seventeenth day of No- 
vember, to take the sense of the qualified voters as to the propriety 
of the city issuing her bonds in the sum of $50,000, for the purpose 
of aiding in building the Henderson & Nashville Railroad. One 
hundred and seventv-two votes were polled for the proposition, and 
this being a large majority, it was ordered by the Council that the 
subscription be made upon condition the railroad company would ob- 
ligate themselves that " Henderson " should be and remain the north- 
ern terminus of the road. 

Up to the year 1856 none of the cross streets, running out from 
the river, extended beyond Green or Back Streets, From Center up 
to the Third Street, out to the line of James Alves' " Pultyte " En. 
largement or addition, was owned by Mrs. Jane Ingram and the heirs 
of Wiatt H. Ingram, deceased. The addition made by Mr. Alves ne- 
cessitated an outlet through the Ingram field, which was at that time 
fenced up in one body, and to secure this the Mayor of the town was 
directed to call on Mrs. Jane C. Ingram and request her to open Sec- 
ond Street through her grounds to the corporation lines, and in case 
of her failure or refusal, to take the necessary legal steps for opening 
and extending the street as required. The Mayor called upon Mrs. 
Ingram, and she, without hesitation, positively refused to open the 
street, unless compelled to do so by law. Suit was then instituted, 
and the street condemned and opened one hundred feet wide. Dur- 
ing the same year First Street was ordered to be graded, graveled, 
guttered and paved from Water to Green. 

In December a liberal lease was made to D. R. Burbank for a 
portion of the river front near his coal mine and salt wells. Mr. Bur- 
bank commenced boring an artesian salt well, and, in 1857, succeeded 
at a depth of over 1,600 feet, in striking a four to six inch stream of 
salt water. This stream flows out of the surface, and can, it is said, be 
carried to the highest part of the city in pipes. The strength of the 
water is said to be eighty gallons to the bushel. At the depth of one 
hundred and sixty feet below the surface is a rock sixty-three feet 
through, which it is said would afford the whole country an abundance 
of the best of fresh water. At the depth of two hundred feet a 
stratum of porcelain clay was passed, pronounced by some to be the 
finest yet discovered in the United States. 

The following from Prof. D. D. Owens to Mr. Burbank shows 
the relative value of this water for salt-making purposes : 
•' D. R. Burbank: 

*' Dear Sir — The approximate examination which I made in Lexing- 
ton, in Dr. Peters' labratorj, of the sample of salt you handed me. obtained 


by boiling down in a hasty and rude way from brine obtained in your borings 
for salt in Henderson, gave the following comparative result with salt of 
commerce, supposed to be Kanawhgi : 


Selica 0.000 Same 0.140 

CarbonatHof lime 0.635 Same 0.583 

Chloride of magnesia or bilter salt. . ..0.200 Almost inappreciabl in Burbank's salt. 

** This shows it is a very pure salt since this examination must inevita- 
bly show a larger amount of impurity in your salt than could be in the salt of 
commerce prepared by crystalization ; it is in fact purer than the Kanawha 
salt. D. D. OWENS, Geologist of Kentucky." 

Shortly after the discovery of this vien of water Mr. Burbank ex- 
pended a large amount of money in the purchase of machinery and 
building of vats for the purpose of making salt, but, owing to some 
defect in the apparatus for boiling and evaporating,or else some opposite 
quantity in the water,the enterprise was soon abandoned. From that day 
to this the well has continued to flow ad libitum, furnishing during the 
spring, summer and early fall months the most health-giving bathing 
to be found anywhere in the country. 

During this summer (1883) Mrs. Burbank has caused to be 
erected a swimming pool near the well, where the citizens go in great 
numbers to enjoy the health-giving qualities of the water. It is un- 
doubtedly a superior water for invalids of all kinds, and is said to be 
a dead shot to chills and fevers, many wonderful cures having been 
efTected by the use of it. 

Prior to the boring made by Mr. Burbank, a similar artesian well 
had been bored by Mr. John G. Holloway on his farm, some five miles 
out from the city. Ii was the object of Mr. Holloway, at the begin- 
ning, to secure, if possible, a flowing stream of fresh water, but he, 
too, struck a vein of strong salt, and in endeavoring to go further, 
got one of his augers fastened in the tube, and abandoned the enter- 
prise. The water was permitted to flow through the farm. Sixty or 
more sheep were killed from drinking it and the well was plugged up. 
At an elevation of 155 feet above low water and to the depth of 
1,024>^ feet his borings developed ten beds of coal : at 60 feet, one of 
10 inches ; at 136)^ feet, over 3 feet of block shale, with some coal ; 
at 160 >^ feet, a vein of 4}^ feet ; at 262 feet, one of 2>^ feet ; at 447 
feet, one of 1^ feet; at 467 feet, one of 5>^ feet; at 572 feet, one 
of 20 inches, and at 861 feet, one of 6>^ feet. 

The coal shaft sunk by Mr. Burbank was intended more for his 
own convenience than for the public supply. He had expected to 
operate his gait works, but when that enterprise exploded, he then 


turned his attention to raising coal for public sale. He continued to 
work his mines up to 1862, when, in the month of November, he 
leased them to Mr. A. H. Talbott. This gentleman operated the 
mines for one or two years, when they were again delivered up to the 
original owner. 

Mr. Burbank was heavily engaged in tobacco stemming and 
farming, besides other important enterprises, attracting a good por- 
tion of his time and attention, and for this reason he abandoned the 
shaft and thus permitted it to fill up. 


On the second of January a contract was entered into for the per- 
manent improvement, by grading, graveling, guttering, curbing and im- 
proving Main Street from Third to Upper Sixth Street. This contract 
was made with Stapp & Ackerly at the following prices : For excava- 
tions, 22 cents per cubic yard ; embankment, 12^ cents per cubic 
yard; guttering, $3.50 per perch of 25 feet; $1 per cubic yard for 
paving with gravel ; sandstone curbing, 25 cents per foot; limestone 
curbing, 50 cents per foot, lineal measure ; paving sidewalk with good 
hard brick, $1.10 per foot, lineal measure. Upon all of the streets order 
ed to be improved, it was stipulated that the gravel used should be 
taken from the conglomerate mine above the city. The value of this 
gravel as a lasting roadbed will be appreciated when it is considered 
that all of the principal streets of the city were laid over twenty-seven 
years ago, and have never been relaid except in spots as necessity 

By ordinance, passed April 25, Back Street was called and 
named, and to be hereafter known as Green Street. 

On the third day of May, on motion of C. W. Hutchen, a con- 
tract was entered into with B. Brashear to grade and fence the Public 
Square, pi ant in it 270 trees and sow it down in blue grass, for the 
sum of eight hundred dollars. 

On July 22 the Mayor preferred charges against Henry Clay 
Bard, who had recently be'en elected City Judge, for mal and 
misfeasance in office. On the twenty-eighth day of August the 
charges were tried and resulted in a resolution requesting or rather 
idvising Judge Bard to resign. 

During the summer and fall of this year Messrs. Paul F. 
Semonin and Robert G. Rouse, Jr., built the steamboat Governor 
Powell. She was 125 feet long and carrying capacity of 400 tons. 
She was a neat little craft, but, from some cause, never succeeded in 


making a fortune for her owners, but, on the contrary, at the June 
term, 1859, of the Henderson Circuit Court, in the case of Peter 
Semonin & Co., a decree was rejidered directing the sale of the boat 
to satisfy numerous debts and claims against her. 

On the evening of the twenty-fourth of March, 1856, the re- 
nowned reader and actress, Mrs. McCready, accompanied by M'lle 
Camille Urso, a little prodigy of musical science, at that time only 
sixteen years of age, delighted a large audience of Henderson peo- 
ple, using the dining-room of the Hancock House, because there was 
no public hall in the city. M'lle Urso, then a wonder, is yet living 
and enjoying a reputation as a violinist equal to that of Ole Bull. 
This charming little performer was assisted by Prof. C. F. Artes, 
the great musician, lately deceased. 

On Sunday morning, October 12, the large pork house of Wood- 
rufif & Funk, located in the lower end of the city near the ste m mill, 
was set fire to bv an incendiary and burned to the ground. The loss 
was a heavy one to the firm and a serious blow to the commercial in- 
terest of the county. 


The lease for a part of the river front, petitioned for by Messrs. 
Shrader & Clore, for the purpose of building a steam saw mill, was 
executed May 2 for a term of thirty years. The mill was built and 
has been for a number of years operated by Joseph Clore. On the 
first day of January, 1884, the firm name was changed to that of Joseph 
Clore & Sons, and is one of the largest and most successfully man- 
aged mills in the State. 

The first steam ferryboat, under command of Captain James W. 
Anthony, was introduced this year. 

In July a terrific wind storm passed over the city, unroofing many 
houses and rasing to the ground a magnificent five-story brick, two 
hundred feet in length, the property of D. R. Burbank, fronting on 
third upper cross, between Main and Water Streets. This house was 
rebuilt upon the same foundation, but only four stories high. In its 
crushing fall it demolished an adjoining brick stable, the property of 
William S. Holloway, and killed forever and anon, *'01d Bally," one 
of the finest specimens of equine flesh ever owned in this place. 

The Farmers' Bank building on the corner of Elm and Second 
Street, was completed in August. 

The Hancock House was given a thorough overhauling, among 
other things plastered on the outside with a rough coat in imitation 
of stone, Henderson improved rapidly this year. 


The Reporter oi September 17 said : '* We have never witnessed 
a more healthy and vigorous manifestation of the spirit of improve- 
ment than now prevails throughout this city. Business and dwelling 
houses are in process of erection in almost every direction. Streets 
are being graded, pavements laid and all other species of im- 
provements are going ahead with rapid strides. There is more work 
than the present force of mechanics can manage." 

During the month of October, a society of young men known as 
the "Thespian Society," a dramatic literary association, was organ- 
ized, and during the fall and, winter of 1858 gave entertainments in 
" Woodruff Hall " to large and delighted audiences. This society 
undertook such pieces as " Ingomar," " Lady of Lyons," "Still 
Water Runs Deep," " Faint Heart Never Won Fair Lady," and 
others of a difficult and popular cast, and, contrary to the predictions 
of the most sanguine friends of the players, the several renditions 
were not only creditable but positively meritorious. L. W. Danforth, 
a most humorous young man, possessed a happy and peculiar faculty 
of fun and wit, proved himself the equal in his line of comedy and 
farce of any trained actor who had preceded him on a Henderson 



On the fifteenth day of July a compromise of the suit of the city 
vs. Robert Clark & Co. and John B. Burke, for that part of the river 
front lying between First and Second Upper Streets, was filed and 
ordered to be made a part of the decree to be rendered in the Circuit 
Court. This compromise stipulated that Clark & Co. and Burke be 
permitted to remain in peaceable possession of the ground during the 
remainder of the unexpired term of the lease from the town to Au- 
dubon & Bakewell, made by the Trustees of the town on the six- 
teenth day of March, 1816, and to run ninety-nine years from that 
date, upon the said Clark & Co. and Burke executing and accepting 
a lease from the city for the unexpired term of said lease, to-wit : the 
fifteenth day of March, 1915, and paying such annual taxes upon 
said property as may from year to year be assessed against it by the 
city authorities. 

The first billiard table ever seen in the city was introduced this 
year by Martin S. Hancock. 

The second market house was built during the months of Octo- 
ber and November and cost twelve hundred dollars. 

This year, like its predecessor, witnessed a rapid growth of the 
city, streets were improved and old contracts finished, more impor- 


tant still, all owners of property encroaching upon the line of the 
streets as established by the Henry J. Eastin survey and ratified by 
a majority xote of the people, ^¥-ere notified to draw in their fences 
and thus conform to' the survey. In many instances this was done, 
but in no instance where the ground was held by right of possession 
was the order obeyed. Be it said to the credit of the Council, in 
many very important cases and equally unimportant ones, this timely 
step was taken. 

On the sixth day of April, Mrs. Betsy Sprinkle, relict of Michael 
Sprinkle, one of the pioneers, died. She was a devoted Christian 
woman. Once upon a time, her husband, in his old age, was ap- 
proached upon the matter of religious preparation, when he replied 
in all earnestness : " My vi/e, Fefsy, has got it, Judge Knox has got 
it, and I am getting too old to enjoy it." 

On the seventeenth day of February, an act to amend the city 
charter was approved. This act reinstated within the city limits all 
that territory lying between fourth and eighth lower cross streets, a 
portion of the same let out in 1825 under that remarkable trade be- 
tween the citizens and James Ah'es and others. 

McBride's old Horse Mill, near the corner of Eighth and Main 
Streets, was torn away by order of the Council, passed March 24. 
This was one of the first mills built in the county, and for many years 
did the grinding for this entire section of country. 

On the second day of May a poll was opened to take the sense 
of the qualified voters as to the propriety of the city paving the river 
front between uppe/ second and third cross streets, and authorizing 
the issue of $80,000 of her bonds, bearing six per cent, interest, to 
run twenty years, for the purpose of paying for said wharf. The 
vote resulted as follows : In the First Ward, for the bonds, 77 ; 
against the bonds, 1. In the Second Ward, for the bonds, 53 ; against 
the bonds, 2. These bonds were never issued. 

On the seventeenth day of May, an ordinance was passed, au- 
thorizing the erection of works for the manufacture of illuminating 
gas, and giving the privilege of selling and suppling the same to the 
city for the term of fifty years. 

On the sixteenth day of August, the old public well, in the inter- 
section of Main and Second cross streets, was ordered filled up ami the 
pump removed. This old well had refreshed many of the inhabitants 
for years and years, and it may be, that its cooling waters, made poi- 


sonous by filth deposited therein by evil-disposed persons, had aided 
in sending others to untimely graves. It also had a history asso- 
ciated with the corrective influences of courts, and such like. It was 
a power,' it was a terror at times. As a corrector of morals and mis- 
demeanors, it was frequently pointed to, and upon more than two occa- 
sions that old pump handle was made to ring out, as its rapid stream 
poured down upon the head and body of some penitent subject who 
had violated the laws of society and morals. 

The $50,000 of bonds voted on the seventeenth day of Novem 
ber, 1855, to aid in completion of the Henderson & Nashville Rail- 
road, were never issued, but by a compromise between the Council 
and the railroad officials, it was agreed that a proposition to subscribe 
$100,000, one-fourth payable when five miles of the track was laid, 
one-half when ten miles was completed, and so on till the whole 
amount had been paid, should be submitted at an election to be held 
on the seventeenth day of September, 1857. An ordinance was 
passed directing the election to be held and the vote taken as fol- 
lows : " In favor of the subscription by the city of one thousand 
shares of one hundred dollars each of the capital stock in the Hen- 
derson & Nashville Railroad, and another column opposed to the 
subscription by the City of Henderson of one thousand shares of one 
hundred dollars each. Also another column in favor of a direct tax 
to be paid in three years in six semi-annual payments, to be made 
and levied of the taxable property of the city, to be appropriated to 
the payment of the subscription of stock. Also another column in 
favor of payinp- the subscription of stock by the issuance of bonds 
of the said city, payable to the railroad company at thirty years after 
date, bearing six per cent, interest, payable semi-annually." 

The election was held and resulted as follows : Two hundred and 
twenty-nine votes in favor of the city subscribing one thousand shares of 
one hundred dollars each, and 229 votes in favor of a direct tax, pay- 
able semi-annually in six installments, to meet said subscription ; op- 
posed to the subscription and tax, 6 votes ; in favor of the thirty year 
bonds, none. 

Elm Street, from first upper cross street to a line between the 
property of Governor L. W. Powell and Thomas Evans below the 
Square, was ordered graded, guttered and paved according to the 
plan of general improvement of the streets. This work was com- 
pleted early in I860. 

On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, March 14, 15 
and 16, the citizens of the town enjoyed a most charming musical 


treat at three performances of Cooper's celebrated opera troupe. 
Miss Annie Milner, the best English soprana heard in this country for 
sixteen or eighteen years, was tt.e leading artist, and was the more 
remarkable, as she had had but little stage experience. She exhib- 
ited many of the peculiar beauties of her instructress, the celebrated 
Mrs. Wood, particularly in the sweetness of her trills, the firmness 
of her sostenuto and the remarkable ease with which she attacked the 
notes in her upper register. Her entire rendition of Verdi's trying part of 
Leanorain ^' II Trovatore," was a perfect success and stamped her a 
great lyric artist. The singing of the entire troupe was warmly ap- 
plauded, and it is safe to say no entertainment prior to that time or 
since has so captivated the city. The great Rudolfson, who is yet de- 
lighting the musical world, was one of this opera company, and will 
long be remembered by many who enjoyed the richness of his vocal 

June 19, Dr. A. J. Morrison suicided in the county jail. 
July 18, the young Americans of Henderson were surprised and 
diverted by five or six Indians in their peculiar uniforms. These 
savages were somewhat civilized and begged importunately. The 
males and females were each as ugly as it is said of a Ducth picture 
of the devil. 

July of this year was the hottest ever known, the thermometer 
indicating from 98 in the shade during the morning to 103 in the 

Dr. Owen Glass, a leading citizen, and greatly respected by all 
who knew him, died suddenly, December 29 

February 25, an act, to amend an act, incorporating the City of 
Henderson was approved. This act restored the oli boundaries ac- 
cording to the original plat. The Mayor and Council were given 
general powers over streets, etc., and the city divided into two wards. 
Mill or Second Street being the dividing line. 

On the seventeenth of March the new charter was submitted to 
a vote and ratified by the people. This charter brought in the addi- 
tions made by James Alves. 

In January the magnificent steamer Grey Eagle, built for the 
Louisville & Henderson Packet Line, made her first trip, and was re- 
ceived on rounding in at Henderson by the " Henderson Guards " 
with a royal salute from their handsome loud-mouthed six-pound brass 


cannon. Captain W. H. Daniels acknowledged the compliment in a 
becoming manner. 

In the fall of 1859 John C. Stapp had buflded an immense ice 
house, which he filled during the winter with ice for the accommoda- 
tion of the general public. In the of 1860 he advertised as 
follows : *' Having erected and filled with superior ice, a mammoth 
ice house, I wish to furnish private families and others with that lux- 
ury the ensuing season, commencing May 15 and continuing until 
the first day of October at the following rates : For the season of 
four months, $12 for one-fourth bushel per day, $20 for one-half 
bushel per day, ^28 for three-fourths of a bushel per day, ari'l $35 
for one bushel per day, oz. weight. In all cases of sickness where the 
parties are not able to buy ice I will supply them free of charge. " 

On March 10 the streets along the gas main were lit with gas for 
the first time. 

March 5 William D. Allison, for thirty-eight years Circuit and 
County Clerk of Henderson County and decidedly the most popular 
man in the county, departed this life after a brief illness. 

March 8, Joseph Grant, for many years the only butcher in the 
city, dropped suddenly dead. 

March 21, a miniature hurricane swept the river, sinking two 
coal barges and a boat containing a large number of sewing machines 
at the foot of the wharf. 

May 10, E. G. Hall was elected Mayor, the total vote polled 
being 320. 

June 10 the new Methodist Church was dedicated, and at the 
evening meeting $3,000 was raised by subscription to free the build- 
ing from debt. Rev. Charles Booth Parsons conducted the services 
and preached a powerful sermon. 

June 5, an agreement or covenant, was entered into between 
property lot holders, who held adverse possession, and the city, for 
the surrender upon certain conditions, ground encroaching upon the 
line of the street, as established by the Eastin survey. This agree- 
ment was signed by sixty-two lot holders and is recorded in city 
record book " A," page 260. 

On the third day of July an ordinance was passed directing the 
permanent improvement of Elm Street, between first and fourth up- 
per cross streets. 

Monday, August 20, the first iron rail was laid on the road-bed 
of the Henderson & Nashville Railroad at the present depot grounds. 


This interesting incident in the history of Henderson was attended 
and witnessed by a large concourse of people. Capt. Jas. W. Clay was 
accorded the honor of driving the first spike. The Mechanics' Brass 
Band made harmonious music,"while Colonel John W. Crockett and 
C. M. Pennell made glorious and enthusiastic speeches. 

October 4 the first five miles of this road was completed and 
ready for the iron horse. This was the terminal of the railroad un- 
til two years after the war, to-wit : 1867. 

At a meeting of the Common Council, held October 23, the 
eight'cross streets below the Public Square were appropriately named 
as follows : First, Washington; second, Powell; third. Clay; fourth, 
Dixon; fifth, Jefferson; sixth, Audubon; seventh, Jackson, and 
eighth, Hancock. 

December 4 the city paid the first installment of $16,666.66 2-3 
on her subscription of one hundred thousand dollars to the building 
of the Henderson & Nashville Railroad. 

Clouds of war hanging over the country it was resolved by the 
Council that all improvements of streets and sidewalks that have not 
already been put under contract be and are hereby suspended indefi- 
nitely. At the next meeting uncompleted work was ordered to be 
stopped indefinitely. 

During this year, 1860, the Council exerted every energy to keep 
Henderson abreast of the times, all of the lots lying on First Street 
had by order of the Council been filled up and the street itself had 
been filled and improved. An immense amount of street improve- 
ments in other parts of the city had been completed and begun. 
Property had been reclaimed and in many instances a liberal com- 
promise had been effected with those lot holders who held property 
encroaching upon some one or more of the streets of the town. The 
wor-v of this Council, as well as those preceding it four or five years, 
was immense and they deserve a more extended notice than time and 
space in this work will admit of, suffice it say, however, that their 
labors in a few more years would have culminated in securing Hen- 
derson a front position among the leading cities of the West, but for 
the coming of that cruel, cruel war. The war had dawned, and was 
now about to shine out in all its horrors, and anything of a bright 
future had begun to settle beneath its lowering cloud of death and 


The Council was now satisfied that the services of an engineer 
would be no longer needed, so at the January meeting an order was 


passed dispensing with the services of that expert, whom they had 
kept busy for three years. 

At a meeting of the City Council, held January 2, the committee 
appointed to compromise suits pending in the Henderson Circuit 
Court between the city and D. R. Burbank, reported the following 
agreement : 

'•This article of agreement made and entered into this twenty-ninth day 
December, i86d, between the City of Henderson and D R. Burbank, wit- 
nesseth. That, whereas the city has instituted suits against said Burbank for 
certain streets situated on the property purchased by said Burbank of W. A. 
Towles and wife and John D. Anderson, also for portions of Green and 
Washington Streets, and the sidewalk on Elm and Third Streets, where tlie 
said Burbank now resides, all of which is inclosed and claimed by him ad- 
versely to the said city. Now, in consideration of the said Burbank relin- 
quishing and giving up to the city the portions of Green and Washington 
Streets, and the sidewalk on Elm and Third Streets above named, the said city 
agrees to dismiss said suits as to the prttpert^j now in dispute. It is understood 
that Burbank is to retain possession of that portion of said Third Street on 
which his factory stands, until the same shall rot or burn down, or be pulled 
down or removed, then Burbank is to relinquish to the city the remainder of the 
sidewalk in his possession. Witness our hands, etc. 


*• E. G. HALL, Mayor, etc " 

On the twentieth day of April the evidences of bloody war hav- 
ing become so unmistakably apparent, the Common Council deter- 
mined to fight, or better, perhaps, to be captured full-handed. The 
following is a copy of the proceedings of the meeting held on that 
day : 

" Mr. Matthews moved that an appropriation of one thousand dollars be 
made to purchase arms and ammunition for the protection of the city, which 
motion carried by the following vote : Ayes — Mayor Hall, Beverley, 
Ladd, Matthews and Tallbott Nayes — None." 

"On motioii, R. G. Beverley is appointed a committee to purchase fifty 
kegs oi liowder, also to purchase (dl of the powder now in the city for the use 
of the city, which motion was carried by the same vote *' 

The teaching of negro Sunday Schools was prohibited, and the 
meeting of that race in the city for public worship when conducted, 
controlled, or assisted by a slave, or free negro, was declared to be a 
nuisance. It was made the duty of the Marshal to disperse all such 
meetings, and to arrest the person or persons by whom the same was 
conducted, and if the preacher, speaker or exhorter be a slave he was 
to be punished with any number of lashes not less than ten, nor more 
than twenty, and if a free negro to be fined not less than twenty, nor 
more than fifty dollars. 


Mr. Beverly reported on the twenty-sixth of April that he had 
purchased the powder directed in the order of the previous meeting, 
and thereupon amotion was made to furnish the " Henderson Guards," 
with such quantities as they may need for " protection purposes." 
This motion was unanimously carried. Upon motion of Mr. Beverly 
the City Council was then constituted a Committee of '' Public Safe- 
ty," any two members to have power to act. The Mayor was then 
instructed to notify the colored preacher. Green, not to preach here 
any more. The city having been fortified with powder enough to 
blow up the enemy, and all other military precautions taken, the Coun- 
cil then cast a guardian circumspection once more over the streets, 
Market House, etc., until her pickets should be driven in or the ap- 
proach of a flag of truce demanding a surrender. 

On the seventh day of May the " Henderson Guards " are again 
remembered, this time handsomely. Councilman Dr. Lafayette Jones 
offered the following resolution, and the same was unanimously 
adopted : 

*' Whereas, The officers and members of the Henderson Guards have 
expended a great deal of money, time and labor in effecting their organ- 
ization, and whereas the said company has given in the way of a night guard 
its services re cently, and expresses a willingness to continue said service, and 
in as much as many of the members of said company are pecuniarly unable 
to furnish themselves with uniforms and bear the other necessary expenses 
entailed upon thein, therefore 

^^ Be it resolv^d,By the Mayor and the Council that the sum of three hun- 
dred dollars be appropriated for the use and benefit of the '• Henderson Guards" 
and that said sum be placed in the hands of Captain E. G. Hall (Mayor) for 
the benefit of said company." 

This trifling recognition was all right, and as the Home Guards 
were all wealthy men, individually and collectively, and were pos- 
sessed of constitutions fully equal to the demand of night service 
made upon them, for weeks prior to that time, and for many weeks 
afterwards, they rejoiced at the luck of their comrades in arms. But 
a short time afterwards one Colonel Charles Cruft came to town from 
Indiana, and then there was no " Henderson Guards " to defend the 
Committee of Public Safety, or the fifty kegs of powder that had been 
hid for protection purposes. 

On the fifth day of October the " Committee of Public Safety " 
caused the following order to be issued : " The Mayor and Marshal 
are authorized to sell all of the powder belonging to the city to the 
merchants or citizens thereof, according to their discretion, and at no 
less a price than ten dollars per keg." 


The total valuation of property reported this year, including 
37 stores and 141 slaves, amounted to $1,614,170. White males over 
21 years, 431 ; free negroes over 16 years, 9, and 34 dogs, the head 
tax on all of which amounted to $8,803.35. There were 8 tobacco 
stemmeries, 15 groceries, 11 taverns and boarding houses, 3 produce 
and commission merchants, 1 lumber yard, 1 wagon yard and 1 wharf 
boat, upon all of which was assessed a specific tax of $867.50. Dur- 
ing the winter of 1861 Hugh Kerr's tobacco factory, corner Water 
and Fourth streets, burned. 


The pedestrians who had plodded in the mud and mire from 
early recollection, wanted more street conveniences. They had real- 
ized the comforts of a progressive age, and like the church parson, 
enthused by the eloquent exhortation of his co-worker, cried out 
aloud, "Go on, brother." They must now have stepping stones at 
each intersection, and in the middle of the Square. On the thirteenth 
day of May a contract was entered into to have such work done at 
all of the principal crossings. From that day to this, the citizen who 
had tramped the streets with his unblacke 1 conestogas drawn over 
the outside of his pants, has enjoyed the felicity of perambulating 
around the muddiest of streets in his blacked and shiny box-toed, 
high and dry above the scum of the earth, and so much for a pro- 
gressive Council. The days of tlie " Committee of Public Safety " 
had now almost come to an end One Colonel John W. Foster, hail- 
ing from Evansville, in the State of Indiana, and holding in his 
pocket a Federal commission to reconstruct every man south of the 
Ohio River who should happen to come under his military supervision, 
stepped into the warlike arena and announced himself monarch 
whether the " Committe of Public Safety " liked it or not. This man, 
Foster, was a positively positive man, and thought to be as positively 
unscrupulous. If he was a failure in the military field, where the 
balls and shells flew the thickest, that was no reason why he should 
not sit in his comfortable room at the Hord House and rule with an 
iron will. 

On the sixteenth day of August this distinguished Post Com. 
mandant, whose forte was bartering with guerrillas, and suspected 
sympathisers, and always beating them in the trade, issued his first 
bull and addressed it to the "Committee of Safety." That remark- 
able document reads as follows ; 


" Headquarters United States Forces,/ 
AT Henderson, Ky., August 16, 1862. f 

To the Members of the City Council of Henderson, Ky.: 

'* Gentlemen — It has been brought to my notice that Mayor Hall has, 
contrary to the orders of the Secretary of War. absented himself from the 
city and trom his post of duty. He has done this tvithout reporting himself to 
ME. I am reliably informed that he has fled fr«m the city, either to avoid 
the contemplated draft or to join the rebel army. In either case he has for- 
feited his oflice, and incurred the penalties of the military authorities I de- 
sire that you should take prompt and decided action in the matter. Mayor 
Hall must return to his post of duty and purge himself from the suspicion that 
resting upon him, or you must declare his office vacant and order a new elec- 
tion. I desire that you would act upon the matter to- nighty and notify me 
of your actions. Very respectfully, 

" Lieutenant Colonel Commanding Post." 

The Council had been called in extra session, and about that 
time the mere thought of a prison cell was equally as alarming as the 
fact of having been locked in. This then being true, Councilman 
Beverly offered the following resolution, which was adopted unani- 
mously without discussion : 

*' Whereas, It appears /rom a communication of Lt. Col. John W. Foster, 
commanding Post Henderson, Ky , (in accordance to which the Council met) 
that His Honor, Mayor Hall, has absented himself irom his post of duty; 
therefore, be it 

Resolved, That in accordance with said military order, and the provisions 
of the city charter, should the Mayor not appear within ten days of the publi- 
cation of this notice, the Council will take the steps ordered hi/ the CHARTER 
to elect a Mayor to fill his place. 

*'Resloved, That a copy of this order be handed to Lieutenant Colonel 
John W. Foster, commanding post." 

Three days after this meeting of the Council, Col. Foster called 
another one and sent the following communication : 


August 19th, 1862. j 
To the City Council of Henderson, Ky, : 

Gentlemen — I have received a copy of the proceedings of your Board 
of August 16th, by which you propose that 'Should (he Mayor not appear 
ivithin ten days of the publication of this notice, the Council will take the steps or- 
dered by the Charter to elect a Mayor to fill his vacancy,^ I am not informed 
as to what you construe a ' publication of the notice.' I cannot learn that 
any other publication has been made other than spreading it upon the records 
of the Council and sending me a copy. If you deem that sufficient notice, 
the ten days began to run from the 16th inst. Mr. E. G. Ilall, the late Mavor 


of Henderson, has abandoned his post secretly, in the darkness of the night. 
fled from the city taking misguided youth with him. and has joined the rebel 
army in rebellion against the Government. 

" No time should be lost in supplying the place which he has disgracefully 
and traitorously abandoned. I, therefore, require that you issue a proclama- 
tion to the citizens of Henderson, setting forth the fact that you are credibly 
informed that E. G Hall, late Mayor of Henderson, has secretly abandoned 
and made vacant the office of Mayor, and has joined himself with those in 
rebellion against the Government, and therefore, unless he should return on 
or before the 26th inst , and purge himself of the charge, there is ordered an 
election to be held to fill the vacancy occasioned by his action, on Wednesday, 
August the 27th, J 862. 

" In this wa}'. I think, you will meet all the requirements of the city char- 
ter, and at the same time show your willingness, as loyal officers, to fill the 
vacancy occasioned by the action of a disloyal associate. 

*' Very respectfully, 


*♦ Lt. Col. Commanding Post." 

This order was fully discussed, and the advice of the City Attor- 
ney asked for. It was agreed to carry out the will of Foster, and 
while the Attorney was engaged drawing up a proclamation conform- 
ing thereto, another communication was received, on the point of a 
bayonet^ which read as follow : 

" Headquarters U. S Forces at Henderson. Ky , \ 

August 19th, 1862. i 

To the C\tij Council of Henderson^ Ky. : 

"Gentlemen — The late Mayor of your city, and your associate officer, 
has secretly fled from the city and joined the enemies of the Government in a 
wicked war for its overthrow. As you have heretofore been his political 
friends, and were elected to office on the same ticket with him, I deem it proper 
in order that you may relieve yourselves from suspicion, that you, together 
with all other officers elected with you, subscribe and take the oath accom- 
panying this letter. Very respectfully, 


" Lt, Col Commanding Post." 

" We do severally solemnly swear that we have borne, and will bear, true 
allegiance to the United States of America and the State of Kentucky. That 
we have supported, and will support, the Constitution of the United States 
and the State of Kentucky, the ordinances of any State Convention or Legis- 
lature to the contrary notwithstanding; that we have not encouraged, and will 
not encourage, the enemies of the United States, and especially the supporters 
of the so-called Confederate States, or give them aid and comfort either by 
word, vote or actions 

♦'That we have not encouraged, and will not encourage, the enlistment 
of troops for their aid; that we have not desired the success of their arms, nor 


exulted over any reverse of the arms of the Federal Government; that we 
have not encouraged, and will not encourage, opposition to the collection of 
the tax imposed by the United State%. save through the ballot box; that we 
will furnish all information of the enemy, their aiders or abettors, to the proper 
United States authorities, when we can do so, and in all things have demeaned, 
and will demean, ourselves honestly and sincerely, as true and loyal support- 
ers and friends of both the constitution and laws of the United States made in 
pursuance thereof— so help me God." 

This oath was a little more than the Council could take at one 
dose. The medicine was too strong, and the principal parts com- 
pounded too recklessly, and, in return, the patients resolved to suffer 
rather than seek relief at the expense of such a horrid prescription ; 
therefore, the following answer was returned to his royal excellency : 

♦' Henderson. Ky., Mayor's Office, August 19th, 1862 
*'Lt. Col John W. Foster, Commanding Post: 

" Sir— Your latest communication has been received by the City Coun- 
cil, and as we have already taken the oath prescribed by law, and faithfully 
observed it, we do not feel incHned to take any other We, therefore, do not 
wish to act any longer as Councilmen and hereby resign our positions as such 


P B. MATTHEWS, Chairman. 

W. H. LADD, 





Upon receipt of this communication the resignations of the 
Councilmen were accepted, but they were held to answer, at the point 
of the bayonet, until each one should execute, with good security for 
himself, a bond conditioned, not as the law directed, but as a military 
dictator determined. 

The resignation of the Council having been reported to the 
Legislature, then in session, a special act was passed and approved 
on the thirtieth day of August, directing the County Judge to appoint 
officers of an election to be held in the city on the tenth day of Sep- 
tember, 1862, to fill the vacancies. On this day the election was held 
and the following officers were elected : Mayor, David Banks ; 
Councilmen, First Ward, William S. HoUoway, Jacob Reutlinger, J. 
C. Allin ; Councilmen, Second Ward, P. H. Hillyer, Jacob Held, Peter 
Semonin ; Assesor, Robert B. Cabell. The new officers were sworn 
in by his Honor, P. A. Blackwell, City Judge, and held their first 
meeting on the twelfth day of September. 


On the sixth day of November the Council contracted with Collins 
& O'Byrne for building a three-foot brick tunnel at the foot of First 
cross street and filling two ravines in Water and First Streets. 


At a meeting of the Council held October 6th, 1863, a petition 
from the heirs of Wiatt H. Ingram, deceased, was presented, praying 
for the opening of a stre t fifty feet wide, running through Ingram's 
enlargement from the Catholic Church on Third Street to Center 
Street at Mrs. L. M. Thornton's property, and for a continuation of 
First cross street to the new street to be called Ingram Street, and 
given to the city by the said Ingram's heirs. At that time Second 
was the only street running through the Ingram property, the whole 
of it back of Green Street being fenced up in one body. The Coun- 
cil accepted the gift of Ingram Street, and directed its opening from 
Third to Center, and the opening of First from Green to Ingram. 

In the organization of the Henderson Gas Light Company the 
City of Henderson had subscribed for ten shares of the stock of the 
company, valued at $50 per share, and given in payment for the same 
the lot of ground upon which the buildings were erected. 

Misfortune for some cause fell to the lot of the company, and on 
the twenty-fourth day of November suit was instituted by Hugh Kerr 
to foreclose a mortgage given him upon the works, to secure the pay- 
ment ot a note for $784 and interest. 

On the eighth day of April, 1864, another suit was filed by 
Samuel P. Spalding, assignee of Peter Semonin, to forclose a mortgage 
for $835.25 and interest. Other suits were brought, and on the 
twenty-fifth day of April, 1864, under an order of court, D. N. Wal- 
den, sheriff of Henderson County, at the Court House door, exposed 
the works to public sale, and J. C. Allin, on behalf of the city, became 
the purchaser. Exceptions were taken to this sale, but the court 
overruled them, and then an appeal was taken to the Court of Appeals. 
This court reversed the court below ; subsequently, to-wit : On Janu- 
ary 22d, 1866, under an order of court, G. A. Sugg, Sheriflt of Hen- 
derson County, exposed the property to sale the second time and 
Robt. G. Rouse, Jr., being the highest bidder became the purchaser 
at and for the price of $1,991.25, and afterwards transferred his bid 
to the City of Henderson. This sale was confirmed and deed ordered 
made to the city. 

In an article criticising the beauty and social charms of the ladies 
of Henderson the New Albany Ledger^ in its last issue in December, 



paid them the following handsome compliment: "The ladies of no 
city in Kentucky are more celebrated for this heavenly gift than 
those of Henderson, and added to this are those rarest charms of 
intelligence and accomplishment"" in all the graces that make women 

angels on earth." 


The tax levy showed for this year, value of town lots, $1,541,490 ; 
436 slaves under sixteen years and 401 over sixteen years, value, 
$173,775; value of personalty, $90,250; 38 stores, $139,850 ;^^42 
slaves hired per annum and 3v hired for less than one year, $18,650 ; 
402 white males over 21 years of age, 30 free blacks and 32 dogs. 

The following is a list of the specific taxes : 


William Biershenk, $15 ; Jacob Held, $25 ; George Hak, $5 ; 
Jacob Held & Sons, $25 ; B. Koetinsky, $35; P. L. Kloninger, $5; 
J. B. Millet, $10 ; Nunn & Rudy, $50 ; T. L. Norris, $40 ; L. Reigler, 
$10 ; John Schlamp, $15 ; W. A. Sandefur & Co., $20; E. L. Starling & 
Co., $50; J. B. Tisserand, $40 ; B. B. Williams, $40 ; Whiting & Co., 


Joseph Adams, $50 ; John H. Barret, $40 ; D. R. Burbank, $25 ; 
D. R. Burbank, Jr., $40 ; B. M. Clay, $35 ; John Funk, $25 ; Kerr, 
Clark & Co., $40; J. Rudy & Co , $35; William Soaper, $40; Taylor 
& Evans, $40 , E. W. Worsham, $25. 


M. P. Rucker, $50. 


J. B. Cook, $10; John H. Lambert, $20 ; A. H. Talbott, $10. 


Eighteen in number in the city. 

September 10th the Farmers' Bank was robbed by guerrillas and 
a meeting called to organize for mutual protection, a history of which 

has been given before. 


On March 1st, upon petition of the Mayor and Council, an act 
was passed by the Legislature authorizing the sale of the Public 
Square, the proceeds to be applied to building a wharf in front of the 
city. This act was to take effect uoon its having been ratified by a 
majority of the qualified voters at some election called for that pur- 


pose. By order of the Council on Monday, May 1, 1865, an elec- 
tion was held, and resulted in a majority voting for the sale of the 

On the sixth day of June the Council directed the Public Square 
to be laid out into suitable lots and a plat made thereof. 

August 1st the committee reported, and a sale of lots ordered to 
take place on Saturday, the ninth day of September, on the following 
terms : one-third cash, one-third in six months and one-third in 
twelve months, with interest from date of sale. The Square was di- 
vided into twenty-six I'ots, fronting from twenty-four and a half to 
fifty feet, and sold at prices varying from $20 to $60 50 per front foot. 
Twenty-three lots were sold, aggregating the round sum of $20,- 

This was very good, but three years afterwards the Council found 
out what the Council of 1865 ought to have known, to-wit : that the 
act of the Legislature authorizing the sale of the Square was worth 
no more than the paper upon which it was written. The city could 
make no title, and as a necessary consequence, was compelled to re- 
fund the money she had received, and pay for one or two buildings 
erected since the sale. The principal, interest and extras were paid 
for in 10 per cent, bonds and the Square again became the property 
of the general public. 

July 21st, upon motion of Hon. Grant Green, a committee was ap- 
pointed by the Council to purchase a mule and cart. This was done, 
and many citizens remember how faithfully that little animal earned 
his food year after year, under the experienced management of Coun- 
cilman Henry R. Tunstall. It is claimed by some to this day, tliat 
this little mule, with his cart, did more in his peculiar line for the city 
than all of the teams employed since he was sold, or turned out to 

On the eleventh day of October an ordinance was passed to gen- 
erally improve the unimproved side walks of the city by laying down 
substantial plank walks. Some eighteen lines were ordered at this 
meeting. While plank walks are, as a general thing, expensive and 
soon become worthless, yet under the circumstances they added at 
this time greatly to the comfort of pedestrians. 

The war was over now, peace had once more embraced the land, 
and no man or set of men could have felt the need of earnest effort 
more keenly than did the City Council, The spirit of progress had 
seized them all, and the disposition to regain all lost by the war, and 


then move on with the quick times, was evidently manifested at each 
meeting of that body. It was now determined, in addition to other 
improvements, to build a magnificent wharf, extending between Sec- 
ond and Third Streets. This great undertaking it was known, would 
cost an untold sum of money, but it was deemed necessary, and for 
that reason preliminary steps were taken looking to its building and 
completion. Councilman Grant Green was directed to prepare an 
amendment to the city charter to be passed by the Legislature, au- 
thorizing the Council to raise the ad valorem tax of the city to the 
maximum of one dollar upon the hundred valuation. The specific 
maximum to one hundred dollars and the poll tax to two dollars. The 
wharf committee on the sixteenth day of December was authorized 
to advertise for sealed proposals for paving the wharf. 

On the twenty-sixth day of September the " City Bank " build- 
ing, now the "Henderson National Bank," on Main Street, between 
Second and Third, was purchased by Hon. Grant Green, William J. 
Marshall and Edward Atkinson under the firm name of Green, Mar 
shall & Co., and on the fourth day of November this firm opened and 
established a private bank with sufficient funds to transact a large 
business. In November this same firm caused to be built the large 
tobacco sales warehouse on Third, between Main and Water Streets. 
— November 7, J. M. Taylor's large brick tobacco stemmery, on 
the corner of Clay and Green Streets, was burned. 

The cholera made its appearance in Henderson this year, but 
owing to rigid health regulations, it was smothered. 

The magnificent residence of Joseph Adams and the splendid 
stone front bank building, erected by the " Farmers' Bank," were 
contracted for and put in course of building this year. 

L. C. Dallam's handsome residence, corner of Elm and Powell 
Streets, Gilmour's tobacco factory, corner First and W^ater Streets, 
and Reutlinger's City Brewery were built this year. 

J. M.Taylor's large tobacco stemmery was rebuilt, 

September 11, William Harris, an ex-Federal soldier, was shot 
and killed in P. O. Applegate's saloon on First Street, by one Henry 
Kokernot (pronounced Coaconut), a brother-in-law of W. W. Catlin. 
The shooting was said, at the time, to have been a plain case of mur- 
der, although the examining trial exonerated Kokernot. The slayer 
left Henderson soon after and has never returned. 

This was the great year in the history of the Presbyterian Church. 
It was here the C^hurch divided into two factions, the Northern faction 


being led bv the great Robert Breckenridge, the Southern by the 
equally great Stuart Robertson. It was an exciting time in the his- 
tory of the Church, as very many who will be reminded of it by this 
brief mention, will well remember. 


Febrary 5th, the act before mentioned, was passed and approved, 
authorizing the Council to assess and collect annually for two years 
against each male inhabitant over twenty-one years of age, a capita- 
tion tax of fifty cents, and ad valorem tax of the same amount, on the 
same property allowed by law, and a specific tax of not exceeding 
fifty dollars upon the same property now allowed by the charter in 
addition to the taxes already assessed, to be appropriated to building 
the wharfs between Second and Third Streets. 

Owing to excavations in the hillside at Fourth Street along side of 
the old cemetery, and the exposed condition of many old and unknown 
graves, the Council ordered that all exposed remains should be re- 
moved and decently interred in the new cemetery, and that other 
graves then in the street beyond the line of tjhe Eastin survey be ex- 
amined, and if any remains were to be found they to be interred also. 

In January of this year the first daily mail was established be- 
tween Henderson and Louisville. 

January 11th, Stephen Duval, a white man, was publicly whipped 
by order of a jury for stealing meat from the market house. 

Tnere was a greater demand for houses this year than had been 
known for many years. 

April 1st, F. H. Dallam, one of the most learned and profound 
lawyers in the State, departed this life. 

Saturday, April 15th, Sterling Payne was killed in the intersec- 
tion of Main and Second Streets by Richard Allen in self-defense. 

An ordinance was passed May 1st directing the improvement of 
Second Street from Green Street through the Alves enlargement by 
grading, guttering and laying down a plank walk. 

On August 7th, 1866, an order was passed by the City Council 
directing the purchase of a city clock, provided it did not exceed in 
price eight hundred dollars. On the twentieth day of September a 
contract was made with E. Howard & Co., of Boston, Mass., for the 
present clock, at and for the price of five hundred and twenty-five 
dollars. Other expenses attaching, to-wit : freight, iron weights, put- 
ting it up and the expense of an expert from Boston to do the work, 
made the whole cost nine hundred and seventy-six dollars. No one 


will gainsay the expenditure, for most assuredly this public time piece 
has proven a blessing to the public generally. 


The work of grading the wharf had gradually progressed until 
it had become necessary to contract for the stone work. On the 
twelfth day of July City Engineer F. H, Crosby presented a profile and 
specifications of the wharf, together with a form of contract drawn by 
Messrs. Turner & Trafton, city council advisors, all of which were 

On the seventeenth day of July the contract was awarded to 
John Haffey at the following prices : For grading, 24 cents per 
cubic yard ; for graveling, $1.05 per cubic yard ; for sand 20 cents 
per cubic yard; for curbing, $1.30 per lineal foot; for paving, $4.25 
per 25 feet surface measure and 9 feet deep. 

On the eighteenth day of July the contract was signed by P. B. 
Matthews, Mayor, on the part of the city, and John Haffey, John C. 
Stapp, William S. HoUoway and W. H. Sheifer on the part of Haffey. 

On the fourth day of December a license was granted Messrs. 
Crocket & Reichert upon their new public hall just completed and 
known as " City Hall." 



Upon the incoming of Mayor P. B, Matthews the Council of 
1866 and the City Council Advisors associated with them, it was 
deemed advisable that a new charter should be secured, and that a^ 
an early date, for many reasons. The charter and araendments then 
in existence were better calculated for the government of villages 
and towns, by no means what was needed for a progressive city of 
four or five thousand inhabitants. It conferred but few powers of 
a general nature, and in many of its parts conflicted with the laws of 
Congress, passed subseqent to the war, and, therefore, in so far, was 
non-operative and obsolete. The Council wanted and needed a 
charter conferring all general and special powers given to cities, in 
order that Henderson throttled by the damaging consequences inci- 
dent upon the coming and progress of the war, should come up out 
of her depressed and crippled condition, and assume a station among 
the leading and growing cities surrounding her on every side. 

It was necessary to pull out of the old rut and take on a new 
life by devising and encouraging new commercial and business enter- 
prises, by a general and systematic improvement of the streets and 


public places of the city. In short to lay aside the village habits and 
take on the quick step of the wideawake city. To do this, therefore, 
Messrs. Turner & Trafton, City Council Advisors, on the eighth day 
of June, 1866, were appointed a committee and requested to prepare 
a charter and report at their earliest convenience. For some 
months this learned firm was diligently engaged in preparing a char" 
ter to meet the wants of the times, and on the sixteenth day of Jan- 
uary, 1867, made their report, which upon being read section by sec- 
tion, and every doubtful point thoroughly discussed, was unanimously 
adopted by the Board of six Counciimen then in office. Immediately 
after its adoption the charter was sent forward to Hon. G. M. Priest, 
Representative, then at Frankfort, with instructions to procure its pas- 
sage, which was done without one single change or alteration, and 
the same approved by the Governor February 11th, 1867. 

Under this charter the city was divided into four wards, giving to 
each ward two representatives in the Board. It extended the bound- 
aries of the city, greatly enlarged the judicial powers of the corpora- 
tion, defined the duties of the Legislative, Executive, Judicial and 
Ministerial Departments, and was in every respect a document cal- 
culated to meet the growing demands of the times. As an evidence 
of the real worth of this charter, it was, after its passage, adopted in 
whole or in part by several cities of the State, Owensboro, Covington 
and Paducah among the number. 

Since its passage sixteen years ago, many changes and amend- 
ments have suggested themselves, but in the main the charter of '67 
remains yet intact, the law governing the municipality. It has 
worked well, and from its birth we can date the substantial and rapid 
growth of Henderson. The first election held under this charter 
took place on the sixth day of May, 1867, when two Counciimen 
from each of the four wards were elected, together with an Assessor, 
City Clerk, Treasurer and City Attorney. 


On the eighth day of April, 1867, a petition signed by 354 legally 
qualified voters, constituting a majority of the qualified voters of 
Henderson, was presented to the Council, certified toby F. W. Reut- 
linger, A. J. Anderson, James H. Johnson, William H. Hopkins^ 
William Biershenk, P. B. Bryce, E. W. Worsham, John C. Stapp, J. 
W.Williams, W. A. Sandetur, George M. Priest, Thomas S. Knight, C. 
Sechtig, bearers of petitions, praying the Council to subscribe to the 
capital stock of the Evansville, Henderson & Nashville Railroad 
Company the sum of three hundred thousand dollars^ to be paid in the 


bonds of the city at par, one hundred thousand dollars payable in 
twenty years, bearing 8 per cent, interest, payable semi-annually, and 
two hundred thousand dollars -i^ayable in thirty years, bearing 7 per 
cent, interest, payable semi-annually. 

The people lost all control, went wild, they wanted a railroad, 
and, but for the action of the Council, General Boyle, President of 
the railroad company, would have asked and had readily given him 
rights, damaging to the city beyond the loss of any amount sub- 
scribed The Council refused to entertain his proposition until it 
had been modified in several particulars, and the city's interest more 
safely guarded. 

On the eighteenth day of April, an ordinance was passed mak- 
ing the subscription, and directing the issue and disposal of the 
bonds. John H. Barret was selected as the depository to hold and 
negotiate the bonds as directed in the ordinance and letter of Gen- 
eral Boyle to the Council. • 

It was an easy matter for the Common Council to count the 
number of those who had signed General Boyle's petition. It was an 
easy matter to determine the majority, and so it was an easy matter to 
direct the issue of three hundred thousand dollars of the city's bonds 
to aid in building the road, but to raise the twenty two thousand dol- 
lars of interest to be paid annually, was a matter of moment, few 
of those who had signed the petition had ever given a passing 
thought, yet this had to be done, and exactly how was the question. 
This Council felt no disposition to oppress anyone, it was their deter- 
mined wish to instruct the Assessor upon the most equitable plan 
possible, and yet they knew that no list of property could they decide 
upon as the proper one for taxation would be perfectly satisfactory to 
all parties concerned. 

In the act to incorporate the Evansville, Henderson & Nashville 
Railroad, passed and approved January 29th, 1867, is the following 
clause : " It shall be lawful for any election district or the legal 
voters thereof, through which the road may be located, to petition the 
County Judge of their county, by written petition, signed by the said 
voters, to subscribe to the capital stock of said company, for such sum 
as they may fix in their said petition, and on such conditions as may 
be accepted by said company, to be paid by a tax to be levied upon the 
taxable property of the said election district^ real and personal^ that may 
be subject to taxation under the general revenue laius of the State. '^ 

This then settled the question of taxation, and on the eleventh 
day of July a form was adopted, and under that form the Assessor 



reported taxable property to the value of $3,500,000, and to raise the 
sum of $22,000 interest and $6,000 to cover commissions and con- 
tingencies, a tax of 80 cents on the $100 was levied, and to make the 
payment of the tax as easy as possible, the Marshal was directed to 
collect one-half by the first of November, 1867, and the other by the 
first of May, 1868. 

The Assessor was directed to make his list as if taken the first 
day of June. This order met with opposition, as did every other 
order made by the Council. H. E. Rouse, Assessor, was indefatiga- 
ble in his effort to do his duty, yet he was met by determined oppo- 
sition, and was thereby compelled to appeal to the Council time and 
again. Several plans were adopted and changed, and finally it was 
determined to stand by the one adopted July 11th. This was con- 
tested by certain taxpayers by suit in the Henderson Circuit Court, 
and finally decided in the Court of Appeals December 4th, 1868, 
"4th Bush." 

From the syllabus to the decision the following is taken and 
deemed sufficient without copying the entire decision : 

John H. Barret & Co. vs. the City of Henderson ; the City of 
Henderson vs. John H. Barret : " When a city is authorized to levy 
a tax upon the taxpayers of the city taxable under the revenue laws 
of the State, such tax must be levied as of the date and upon the 
same persons and property as presc/ibed by the revenue laws of the 
State. Taxpayers, taxable under the revenue laws of the State, des- 
ignates both the person and subject of taxation." 

This decision then settled the vexatious question of taxation for 
railroad purposes. From the first assessment to this day, be it said to 
the credit of the taxpayers, the city has never defaulted in the pay- 
ment of her semi-annual interest. 

On the twenty second day of July, John H. Barret, custodian of 
the bonds, tendered his resignation and settlement of the trust, show- 
ing that he had received from the sale of bonds the sum of $34,500, 
and that he had paid out, including the sum of $500 allowed him for 
his services and expenses while in the East in the interest of the com- 
pany, the sum of $24,282.51, leaving a balance in his hands of $10,- 
217.49, which was promptly paid to the Mayor of the city He sold 
and delivered thirty-three bonds and negotiated others, which were 
delivered by his successor. 

During his visit to the East he purchased with his own means 
Engine No. 1, known as the " Pony," and had it shipped to Hender- 
son, etc. 

On the thirtieth day of January this, the first engme ever seen 
in Henderson, was landed at the wharf and several days were con- 


sumed in hauling it up the wharf, and through the streets over a tem- 
porary track to the depot where it was soon afterwards placed in run- 
ning order. When this had be&n done steam was raised and a shrill, 
keen whistle awakened the citizens to the absolute certainty that the 
Evansville, Henderson & Nashville tiailroad was a thing of life in- 
deed. This same afternoon the Mayor and Council, and several citi- 
zens were treated to a short ride over the five mile track which had 
been laid down before the war, but never before used. 

Upon the resignation of Mr. Barrett, Hon. Grant Green was ap- 
pointed and qualified his successor as custodian of the bonds. 

The gas works, which had become the property of the city by 
purchase, but had remained idle for a number of years, except the 
short time while under lease to W. A. O'Bryan, made December 6th, 
1866, were again thrown upon the city, and what to do with them 
was a question the Council was anxious to settle permanently. On 
the 11th day of July a committee was appointed by the Council to 
let out the gas works and report. This committee contracted with 
T. M. Jenkins to take charge of the works as superintendent and 
manager, and filed the contract, which was adopted July 17th. ap- 
pointing him for fifteen years and appropriating seven thousand dol- 
lars to be expended in placing the works in first class repair, adding 
new machinery and extending the gas mains. The works were re- 
constructed, and under competent management have proven a most 
gratifying success, not only as an illuminating power, but as a profit- 
able financial enterprise. These works to-day, size and capacity con- 
sidered, are the equal of any to be found in the State. 

On the 7th day of August a contract was entered into by and 
between the city and Collins & O'Byrne for the grading of Second 
Street, commencing at Green, and running to the east line of Thomas 
Ryan's property on Alvasia street. 

On the 8th day of August the historic high bank of earth stand- 
ing on the river front, between third and fourth cross streets, known 
as '' Fort Nigger," was excavated and thrown back into a hollow or 
ravine lying between said bank and Water street. 

On the 19th day of August an ordinance was passed directing 
and ordering Water Street, between Second and Third, to be graded, 
guttered, curbed and graveled a width of fifty feet. 

On the same day an ordinance was passed directing Second 
Street to be opened one hundred feet in width, from Green Street to 
the eastern limit of the Alves' enlargement, near the residence of 


James P. Breckinridge, and that it be established a public street and 
known by the name of Second upper cross street. 

On the 29th day of October a contract was awarded Dr. P. 
Thompson and John W. Alves, for paving on the south west side of 
Center Street, from the intersection of Green, to the north east cor- 
ner of Dr. Thompson's property. 

November 6th an ordinance was passed to pave on Main from 
Upper Sixth to Eighth cross street ; to plank from Eighth to Upper 
Eleventh; to pave from Lower Second to Fourth; to plank from 
Fourth to Lower Eighth on Main Street ; to pave between Upper 
First to Lower Third, or Powell Street, on Elm. 

During this year the handsome residences of Dr. P. Thompson, 
Thomas Soaper, A. H. Talbott (now G. I. Beatty's), A. T. Leslie and 
John E. McCaliister were built. 

On the 24th, 25th and 26th evenings of October the "Black 
Crook," a gorgeous spectacular drama exhibited to a multitude of 
delighted people on the Public Square. 

November 1st, the old " South Kentuckian " building, which 
stood on the corner of Main and First cross streets, was torn down 
and two small brick store rooms afterwards built in its stead. This 
building was one of the primitive land marks, and around it clustered 
memories most dear to many of the older inhabitants. It belonged 

to Governor Dixon. 


On the 20th and 21st evenings of January, Rear Admiral Semmes 
delivered his entertaining lecture, " The Cruise of the Alabama." 

February 19th, an act of the Legislature was approved, incorpor- 
ating William Bierschenck, Jac Reutlinger, Jac Peter, FcUk Fry, J. J. 
Deihl and P. Hoffman trustees of the Henderson German School. 
This school was established, but a few years afterwards merged into 
the public school. 

Saturday night, 19th, a demand was made upon Jailer J. W. Wil- 
liams for the person of one Jack Burle, by an organization called and 
known as " Kuklux." Upon a positive refusal to comply, an attempt 
was then made to force an entrance. Judge Cissell, then Circuit 
Judge, who lived only a short distance from the jail, was notified and 
in a short time appeared upon the ground, and by the use of good 
argument succeeded in persuading the mob to retire. 

Many of the purchasers of the Public Square having refused to 
pay for lots purchased at the public sale, the Mayor was instructed 


to enter suit, which was done. The Court held the sale to be void 
upon the ground the city had no right to sell, and therefore could 
make no title. ^- 

March 3d, a contract was made and entered into betwen the city 
and Haffey & Stapp for grading and paving with stone, between the 
Main wharf and Clark's tobacco factory on Second Street. 

On the 7th day of April the Superintendent of Gas reported net 
receipts of the works for the preceding months of January and Feb- 
ruary, $899.60. 

At a meeting of the City Council held June 2d, the new wharf 
was received and guaranteed for ten years, by the city paying $500 
per annum to the con-tractors, Messrs. Haffey & Stapp. 

On the 2d day of June the Mayor had read to the Council a 
lengthy message urging their careful attention upon certain proposi- 
tions regarded as of material interest to the city at that time. Among 
other things he called attention to the important and responsible trust 
committed to them. He dwelt at lengtli upon the paramount import- 
ance of a good system of public schools by which the children of the 
city could be educated at a comparatively small cost, many of them 
at no cost at all. He recommended the appointment of a suitable 
committee to thoroughly investigate the system of public schools as 
adopted in other cities, and then the propriety of submitting to a vote 
of the people the proposition to borrow a sufficient amount of money 
for the purposes in view. 

He also recommended the building of a Court room, Council 
room and prison, all to be included in one building. He recommended 
the organization of a good fire and hook and ladder company, with 
necessarry apparatus for controlling this devastating element. He 
recommended the general and permanent improvement of the streets 
of the city. He recommended the opening of Second Street to the 
city limits and its improvement. He recommended a good plank or 
gravel road to the cemetery. He recommended a liberal policy to- 
ward market men and by proper encouragement thus aid in building 
up a market, where the citizens could be provided at a reason- 
able cost. He also recommended that the outstanding indebtedness 
in scrip and judgments held by the purchasers of Public Square lots 
be funded by the issue of a sufficient number of interest bearing 

The message was received and referred to a committee of the 
whole to consider and report at some future meeting of the Council. 


June 25th the following resolutions were adopted : 

'^Be it Resolved, That the Committee on Ways and Means be and they 
are instructed to report to the Council at its next regular meeting, or as soon 
thereafter as practicable, the best means ot issuing the bonds of the city, and 
state the amount of bonds that ought to be issued, the denomination thereof, 
the rate of interest they ought to bear, the time they ought to mature, the prob- 
ability of selling said bonds and for what amount, and all other facts in rela- 
tion thereto which in their judgment may seem proper. 

^*Be it resolved further^ That the Mayor appoint a committee of five either 
of Councilmen or other citizens, any three of whom may act. who are request- 
ed to ascertain and report to the Council, at their earliest convenience, upon 
the best manner of establishing a public school in Henderson, and they wi'l 
state particularly what sum it will require to build and put in operation said 
school, the cost ot conducting the same, the best system of its government in 
all particulars, the character of building required, and all facts in relation to 
the subject they may deem proper " 

On the fourth day of August this committee reported, recommend- 
ing the preparation and passage of an act by the Legislature, giving 
the city full power to issue bonds and erect suitable buildings in which 
to carry on public schools; also, to authorize the city to 'borrow money 
by issuing her bonds, etc. 

Concerning the proposition to fund the outstanding indebtedness 
of the city, January 19th, 1869, an act was drawn and adopted by the 
Council authorizing the Council to issue the bonds of the city for 
that purpose. This act was passed by the Legislature and approved 
by the Governor June 16th. 

The Mayor was instructed to have printed and engraved $50,000 
of city bonds and report his acts. July 6th, the bonds were reported 
to the Council, and upon motion the Mayor was directed to advertize 
requesting all persons holding scrip, judgments or other evidences of 
indebtedness against the city to come forward and report, and if satis- 
factory to take up the same by substituting in lieu thereof the bonds of 
the city payable thirty years after date bearing ten per cent, interest. 
This proposition proved a great success. All creditors were satisfied, 
and in three weeks' time, or as soon as the work could be completed, 
the Mayor had taken in, by substituting bonds, the entire outstand- 
ing scrip, judgment, and Public Square indebtedness, amounting to 
nearly $50,000. 

On the seventh day of September the Mayor reported in full his 
acts, and upon full investigation by the Finance Committee, the same 
was unanimously approved by the Council. 


Prior to this time the city had no money, and could borrow none, 
but few citizens outside of the Council knew this. There was an im- 
mense amount of improvement going on, and other work being con- 
tracted for at each meeting of the^Council. Progress was the motto, 
and a trust to luck for the money to foot the bills was the understand- 
ing. It has been said the city at one time could not borrow money- 
To verify this : On the 3d day of November, 1868, the city needed 
$5,000. Application was made to both banks and moneyed men, but 
it could not be had. It was necessary to raise this amount or else 
let the whole business go to the wall. Seeing this, Mayor Starling 
and Councilmen William F. Reutlinger, and Leroy Martin, borrowed 
on their individual 'credit the amount of five thousand dollars, and 
relie\ed the city, taking a pledge from the Council that the amount 
should be refunded from the revenues to be collected. Several times 
during the year the members of the Council borrowed sums of money 
on their individual credit and loaned the same to the city, to enable 
her to carry on public work then under contract. 

Under the funding act the city was relieved, and soon after a 
Board of Sinking Fund Commissioners was organized, under a special 
act of the Legislature, with power to hold and use the various reve- 
nues specified for the purpose of reducing the outstanding debt and 
paying interest. 

As I proceed with this itemized history, the reader will see what 
an amount of public work was done, and will agree with a previous 
statement made, that the substantial and solid growth of the city dates 
back to the new charter of 1867. No one will ever know, but those 
who were actively employed, the immense amount of labor entailed 
upon the Councils of 1866, '67, '68, '69, '70 and '71, the manner in 
which they managed public affairs, conducted the multiplied improve- 
ments of the city, including streets, wharves, and public buildings, 
the levying of taxes, the collection of revenues, etc., etc. 

August 4th, 1868, the Market House had become too small, and 
another section, nearly equal to the original in size, was added to it 

August 25th, pavements around the Court House, on First and 
Main Streets, and on First to the river, and on Lower Main, were or- 
dered laid down. 

The extension of the gas mains and erection of street lamps 
was ordered in every direction where it was judged by the Council 
the extension would pay ten per cent, upon the investment. 



Septt'mber 15th, a contract was made with Collins & O'Byrne to 
grade, giitier and curb Green Street, from First to Upper Third 
Street, to completely finish Main from Second to Lower Fourth Street. 
Clay and Fagan Streets were received and ordered opened sixty feet 
wide to the cemetery. 

October 6ih, a contract was entered into with Haffey & Stapp to 
grade and pa\e Third Street to low water mark, in the same manner 
the Main wharf had been done. 

November 17th, Second Street was purchased through the Breck- 
enridge property, and ordered opened to the limits of the city at the 

In July, 1868, an organization known as the '* Kuklux " appeared 
upon the streets of the city at night, alarming many citizens of the 
city, and committing, in one or more instances, acts contrary to law 
and order. It was said — with how much truth, however, is not known 
— that many of the best citizens of the city were members of the clan, 
and that its organization was intended to assist good government and 
the enforcement of the laws, that that portion of the organization were 
as much opposed to anything in the shape of outlawry as any citi- 
zen who refused to countenance the movement. Yet the movement 
was regarded generally as a dangerous one, calculated to do no good, 
but, on the contrary, to become the source of great evil. The Coun- 
cil regarded it as dangerous to the peace of society, ill-timed, and ab- 
solutely unnecessary, unlawful, and uncalled for, and therefore deter- 
mined, at all hazards, to suppress it, first by persuasion, if possible, if 
not, then by force, no matter how that force was secured or from 
whence it came. 

On the twenty-seventh day of July the following ordinance was 
passed : 

" Be It ordained by the Mayor and Common Council: First — That it 
shall be unlawful for any person to appear on the streets, alleys or highways 
of the city in mask or with his face or person so disguised that he cannot be 
recognized by casual observation of his acquaintance, and for each offense 
said person shall be fined not less than fitty nor more than one hundred dol- 
lars to be recovered by warrant or other fines, 

'* Second — It is hereby made the special duty of the Marshal and police 
to arrest all parties violating this ordinance, and for this purpose they shall 
have the power to call to their assistance any citizen of the city, and for a 
failure of the Marshal or police to faithfully discharge their duty, he or they 
shall be fined twenty-five dollars, and for a failure of such citizen to aid in ar- 
resting such person or persons, violating the first section of the ordinance, he 
or thev shall be fined ten dollars 


" Be it further ordained, that the Mayor forthwith issue a proclamation 
calling upon all citizens to desist from appearing in disguise by day or ni^ht, 
disturbing the quiet of the city, and to warn them that if persisted in imme- 
diate measures will be taken to punish. them." 

Whereupon the Mayor issued the following proclamation : 
** To all whom it may concenr: 

'Your attention is called to the above ordinance, passed by the City 
Council at its meeting of Monday night last. In accordance therewith, you 
are earnestly requested to desist from any further such exhibitions of masks, 
guns, weapons and pretenses of authority unknown to and unrecognized by 
the law, as have attended your frequent appearances in the streets of the city 
within the past few weeks. The object of your organization and its plans and 
purposes I do not know, nor do I propose to inquire. That it is calculated in 
its etfects to do great and irremediable injury to the best interests of the com- 
munity, no right-thinking and prudent person will deny, and it will, if con- 
tinued, result in mischief, no one who has regarded the rise and pro^-ress of 
similar organizations in other localities, can doubt. If it be said it was organ- 
ized to reform abuses, which its members imagine exist in the community, I 
answer the laws are in full force and will be vindicated by a prompt resort to 
the remedies whenever they are known to be violated, besides the administra- 
tors of the law are men of your own choosing. If they fail to do their dutv 
the remedy is in yours and the hands of other citizens, and it is with vou and 
them to apply it. If your organization has for its object nothing beyond the 
indulgence of what you may regard as a little harmless pleasantry, through 
the media of masks and horns and howls, I answer, that such exhibitions are 
unseemly, annoying and mischievous, for the}' have been accompanied more 
than once with the display and use of weapons and the utterance of threats 
against those who are entitled to the p/otection of the law, and have resulted, 
too, in terrifying many peaceable and well disposed citizens. 

" If, as many persons suppose, this organization was intended to keep in 
subjection, to order and law, and to enforcr- habits o^ndustry and a respect 
for the observance of their contracts for labor, a certain class of our popula- 
tion, I answer, that class is ammenable to the law, and is entitled to the pro- 
tection of the .aw as much as any other, and that its members have been gener- 
ally well-behavfcd and orderly, and industriously engaged in maintainino- them- 
selves and families. This intended or threatened interference with their rio-hts, 
whether real or maginary, works a great injustice to that class, and will result 
in injury and damage to their employer, for some of them have been already, 
and many more will be, trightened into an abandonment of their contract for 
labor, leaving numberless fields untitled and crops unharvested. The tolera- 
tion of such an organization in our midst for any length of time will also have 
the tendency to induce some of our best citizens to seek more quiet and safer 
localities, while many who might otherwise be disposed to bring their capital 
to our growing and prosperous city for investment, will be deterred from do- 
ing so by its existence. Certainly its members, who probably have an equal 
interest with all our citizens in this matter, are not willing to see this result 
brought about by their agency. 


*• Then, when it is considered how many outrages may be committed 
under the color and seeming sanction of tliis organization it is hoped that the 
most thoughtless of the members may be induced to abandon and discontin- 
uance it. A band of highwaymen taking advantage of the fact that this organi- 
zation exhibits itself unmolested in our streets, may any night, disguised as they 
are generally, penetrate the city and rob the bariks and stores and escape un- 
harmed to their hiding places, and a cowardly villian, malignant and thirsting 
for blood, may safely and surely, under the assumed mask ol this organization, 
take the life of a good citizen, whom he fancies has wronged him 

** Viewed in the length of all the consequences which will flow from it 
the organization is wrong, unnecessary and dangerous and ought to be aban- 
doned, or failing in that, suppressed. I therefore earnestly urge upon all its 
members, a prompt compliance with the ordinance above cited, lay aside for- 
ever your masks, make no more parades upon the streets and alleys of the 
city, and show yourselves supporters of the laws as they are. liut if you will 
not do this, it will be my imperative duty to see the observance strictly en - 
forced, and I shall certainly dq so to the extent of the powers vested in me. 
Respectfully, *' E. L. STARLING. 

This proclamation was received in good part so far as the fact 
could be known, and many of the leading members of the clan de- 
termined to abide by the advice given. There were others, though, 
who preferred to resist the authority of the law, and did turn out 
again. Mention has been made of the attack upon the county jail* 
Upon this movement being made the Council appropriated one thou- 
sand dollars and passed the following ordinance : 

•' Be it ordained, that the Mayor is authorized to employ such additional 
police as he may think necessary, for such length of time as he may see proper, 
and at a compensation not exceeding that received by the present police." 

It was understood that this force should not be known and that 
its duties should be to detect members and report their names. The 
authority of the law began to close around the boys a little closer 
than they had suspected, and many interviews were held with the 
Mayor by those suspected of being members One youngster who 
was going to leave the city to make his home elsewhere, ventured as a 
friend to confess his connection with the clan and to furnish a full 
list of the membership. 

Whether this young Kuklux told the truth or not has never been 
known. It is enough to know that the law-abiding portion of the 
clan saw the folly and danger to come out of such nonsense and 
were mainly instrumental, and finally succeeded in disbanding the or- 
ganization. They held their last parade with the distinct understand- 
ing that that was to be the last, proceeded to the lower end of the 


city, fired off their guns, pistols, etc., made peace with the world and 
nothin<y more has ever been heard of them as a military organization. 
Good men belonged to the ICuklux beyond question, and upon 
going into it thought it a good thing just at that time. They soon 
saw the danger, however, and deserve credit for bringing about its 

It is due to the city to say that no single member of the Council 
entertained a desire to do more than his duty, they were opposed to 
the organization and determined upon its suppression, no matter the 

They recognized the fact that friends were i.i the ranks, and yet 
if these friends would not consent to be governed by good advice, 
and abide by the laws, then if they suffered from any source it was 
their misfortune and not the wish or fault of the Council. 

During the year 1868, the residences of William T. Barret, now 
John H. Barret, Jr., A. S. Nunn, now Colonel Jackson McClain, Allen 
Gilmour, now Colonel W. S. Elams, E. L. Starling's store house, now 
James R. Barret's, and Robert Dixon's brick three-story livery stable 
were built. 


The old Johnson two-story brick, corner First and Main, was 
torn down, and the real estate divided into nine lots, four fronting 
on Main Street and five fronting on First Street. The four fronting 
Main were sold for the following prices: $125, SlOO, $100 and $96 
per foot. The five fronting First were sold for $73, $62, $60, $54 
and $54 per foot. 

February 2d, the first meeting of the City Council was held in 
the new Council roofn fitted up on the Public Square. 

February 6th, D. R. Burbank paid $42.55 per hundred pounds 
for tobacco 

Thursday, March 10th. Richard Powell, son of Governor L. W. 
Powell, was killed by Stanley Young on the pavement in front of 
Judge P. H. Hillyer's book store on Main Street, three doors above 

The Episcopal Diocesan Convention met in St. Paul's Church in 
May, and was attended by Governors John W. Stevenson, Merri- 
weather and other distinguished gentlemen. 

Saturday, August 7th, there was a total eclipse of the sun. This 
occurred between 4 and 5 o'clock, and so complete was the eclipse 


chickens went to roost, to find themselves a short while after sitting 
in the broiling hot sun. 

May 4th, an ordinance was passed, directing a fitty-foot fill to 
be made between Third and Fourth upper cross streets on Water, 
and the same to be guttered, curbed and graveled. There was no 
street there at the time, nothing save a great ravine, gradually eating 
its way into the Atkinson Square beyond the corner of Third and 
Water Streets. The fill was made, and the improvement has proved 
a blessing to the city. 

June 8th, a book of laws and ordinances was ordered prepared 
for publication. This book was prepared by Captain R. H. Cun- 
ningham and printed by Ben Harrison. Work highly creditable to 
both gentlemen. 

June 15th, an ordinance was passed, directing a fifty-foot street to 
be made along Wjter Street from the intersection of Fourth, to the 
intersection of Fifth upper cross street in front of the Hugh Kerr 
properly. This fill was made and the street improved as that part 
between Third and Fourth. 

August olst, a compromise was effected with George F. Beatty, 
whereby the city became the purchaser of one hundred feet of ground 
in width, running through the old Ingram property, on First Street 
from Ingram to Adams Street. 

August 31st, the city leased to D. R. Burbank for distilling pur- 
poses all that part of the river front lying below the salt wells and in 
front of lots Nos. 37, 40, 41. During the year Mr. Burbank built his 
twenty barrel distillery, the first of the kind ever built in the county. 

October 19th, Plank Road, or the continuation of Third upper 
cross street, was received and established fifty feet wide. 


The population of Henderson, as given by the official census, 
was 4,158, divided as follows : First Ward, 692 ; Second, 806 ; Third, 
1,326 ; Fourth, 1,334. 

March 11th, an act of the Legislature was approved, incorpor- 
ating W. B. Woodruff, Geo. M. Priest, E. W. Worsham, John C. Stapp 
and P. A. Blackwell under the name and style of the " Deposit Bank," 
with an authorized capital of $50,000. 

June 7th, a contract was entered into by and between the city 
and railroad, authorizing the road to haul coal over Fourth Street to 
the river front and the privilege of building a coal tipple between the 


line of Water Street and the river. This expensive wooden structure 
was built, but proved worthless for the purposes for which it was in- 
tended, and was a few years after^orn down by order of the Council. 
July 27th, the following assessments of property for taxation 
was reported ' For school, $2,638,723. On this amount a tax of 30 
cents on the $100 was levied to pay the interest on the bonds issued 
for erecting and furnishing the school building, and 15 cents for pay- 
in- salaries of teachers, etc.; for railroad, $2,863,133. On this 
amount a tax of 87 1-2 cents upon the $100 was levied for the pur- 
pose of i-aving the interest (and expenses of collecting) on the bonds 
issued to the E., H. & N. R. R. The city tax was fixed at 75 cents. 
August 2d, a committee was appointed and directed to report the 
best and cheapest plan for supplying the city with water. Septem- 
ber 6th, a petition, signed by a large number of citizens, was pre- 
sented to the Council, praying that body to submit to the quahfied 
voters," Shall bonds be issued for the building of water works ?'' This 
was the beginning of the water works. 

During the summer and fall of this year Messrs. W. P.. Wooruff 
& Co. built'' the large ice house on Water Street, adjoining Woodruff 
Hall and in the early spring of 1871 purchased and packed two hun- 
dred' tons of lake ice for the comfort and convenience of the general 


Mr. Robert Dixon, during the fall, re-floored the third-story room 
of his large brick building, on the corner of First and Elm Streets, 
for the pu%ose of " roller skating," and threw it open for the enjoy- 
ment of the amusement-loving public. 


The Council having submitted for years to second-story rooms 
and unsuitable and uncomfortable places wherein to hold their meet- 
ings, and to exhorbitant charges for keeping and feeding city prison- 
ers, determined to erect a building combining Council Chamber, 
Clerk's office, Mayor's and other offices, prison and station rooms. 

February 22d a resolution was adopted to build such a house, 
and a commiuee appointed to procure plans and specifications and 
report cost. October 24th George W. Fallon furnished a plan and 
accompanying specifications and the same were adopted. 

May 7th, 1872, a contract was entered into by and between the 
city and' Digman& Kyle to build the house, the same to be eighty 
feet in length by thirty feet in width. 


March 19th, 1872, the county had determined to build a new 
jail, and by order of the Commissioners the old jail was exposed to 
sale at public outcry. At this sale the city became the purchaser for 
a mere nominal sum. The old prison was soon torn down . and all 
material of any value safely stored away, to be used in building the 
City Hall and prison. This purchase proved to be a most judicious 
one, for by it the city secured all the iron doors, frames, grating, etc., 
necessary to be used in the new building. In addition this, one hun- 
dred thousand or more good brick were saved from the ruins, and 
enough fiag stones to lay the pavement in front of the building. After 
reserving all material of value the remainder was sold for more than 
enough to satisfy the purchase bid. 

This building was completed at a cost of near $17,000 and was 
occupied by the Council for the first time on July 15th, 1873. It is a 
magnificent building and stands to-day an evidence of the taste and 
good judgment of the Council who conceived the idea of its building. 

" The " South Kentucky " Narrow Gauge Railroad Co'mpany 
having been chartered by the Legislature March 15th, G. M. Alves, 
City Engineer, was employed to make a preliminary survey, which he 
did in April. September 11th an ordinance was passed by the Com- 
mon Council directing the sense of the qualified voters to be taken 
upon the propriety of the city subscribing for six hundred shares of 
stock. This election was held September 23d and resulted in 180 
voles being polled for the proposition and 50 opposed to it. 

October 3d the Mayor was directed to subscribe for six hundred 
shares, $50 each, making $30,000, and on January 23d, 1872, the 
Council appriated $500 to assist in making necessary surveys. 

A Board of Directors was elected, but for many reasons nothing 
more than has been enumerated, has ever been effected. 

May 2d, Thomas F. Cheany, appointed for the purpose, reported 
923 children of legal school age, living in the city. 

From the completion of the Evansville, Henderson & Nashville 
Railroad there had been manifested by the management a determin- 
ation to reach the water line of the Ohio River, even though the 
rights of the city had to be trampled under foot. There was at the 
time a positive contract between the city and railroad company that 
no cars or engines should be run over Fourth Street only so far as 
stipulated, certainly no passengers or freight trains were to run to the 
river. This agreement, which was quite satisfactory to the company 
when money was asked to aid in completing the road, had become 




since its compleiion equally as distaseful and annoying. An outlet 
was wanted, and for this the company was unwilling to remunerate 
the city. ^ 

Conceiving the idea that for the purpose of transporting the 
United States mails, engines and cars should be run to the river and 
no interference by the city would result, on the sixteenth day of 
May an engine, mail, express and passenger coaches attached, rushed 
over the forbidden track to Water Street. This was a nice dodge, an 
unscrupulous company embraced (shielding itself behind the sup- 
posed interference of the United States) to violate and trample under 
foot a positive agreement made and entered into, presumably in good 
faith. The Mayor of the city witnessed this gross violation of right and 
immediately applied to those in authority to find out its meaning. 
Finding a settled determination on the part of the company to sub- 
mit no longer to the agreement, but to force trains to Water Street 
under the pretense of carrying the United States mail, he applied to 
Judge S. B. Vance, and that able, clear-headed lawyer drew an in- 
genious ordinance, not only attacking the flanks, but the rear of the 

company in such i way as to compel its surrender a short time there- 

General Boyle, then President of the company, and those who 
had advised with him, had never taken the view embraced in the or- 
dinance, and were therefore completely outgeneraled. A meeting of 
the Council was called and the ordinance passed without a dissenting 
voice to take effect from its publication. Several days passed before 
the ordinance could be made operative, and dqring that time trains 
ran unmolested to Water Street. 

This ordinance did not deal directly with the company, but at- 
tacked those in its employ. It prescribed a fine of fifty to one hun- 
dred dollars to be laid against each and every employe, engineer, 
conductor, brakeman or other person detected in running a train of 
cars between the depot and Water Street. The Superintendent of 
the road, one Hugh Pitcairne, with his headquarters in Hopkinsville, 
directed the movements of the trains by use of the wire connecting 
the two cities. He was a wiley fellow, cute and unscrupulous. He 
hesitated to do nothing in the interest of his masters and partook 
strongly of their rebellious and dishonest spirit. He heard of the 
ordinance and cut his cloth to suit the municipal garment, in short, 
he directed his trains to be run to Water Street, with no one 
but the engineer and one brakeman. Upon one occasion there was 
no one but the engineer and mail agent. The first day after the or^ 


dinance had become law, two policemen were stationed between Main 
and Water about train time. Soon the train came along, the em- 
ployes whistling and thinking little, if anything, of what was in store 
for them. Upon halting at Water Street each employe was sum- 
moned to appear before the Police Court. At this they smiled an 
uncertain smile as the train backed back to the depot. Next day new 
men were on the train and they too in turn were summoned to appear 
before the Police Court. Fines were assessed, and yet these fellows 
thought the city was indulging a little game of bluff. About the third 
day five employes, ij;icluding two engineers, one conductor and two 
brakemen, in an unguarded moment, were arrested and straightway 
marched to jail. Not until they were looking out from behind the 
great iron doors and exercising their teeth upon the toughest of diet 
did they realize the serious attitude in which a man placed himself 
who attempted to violate the law. They refused to be bailed by their 
city friends, but demanded that those who had gotten them there 
should see to their release. The fourth evening another batch was 
incarcerated, and the engineer, rather than suffer a similar fate, 
jumped his engine and left it with train attached standing in the street 
between Main and Water, where it remained for several days. 

Superintendent Pitcairne could get no one to venture from the 
depot to the river. One engine and a train of cars was standing idle 
in the street, and no one could be induced to remove it. The magni- 
tude of the situation induced him to tear his hair and anathematize 
Henderson, yet no relief came to him. He could stand it no longer, 
so he ventured from his Hopkinsville headquarter to visit Henderson 
and by his august presence intimidate the authorities, throw open the 
prison doors and visit vengeance upon those who had dared to inter- 
fere with his plans. He, however, alighted from the train a few hun- 
dred yards outside of the city limits and took a birds-eye view of the 
depot surroundings by the aid of a field-glass. Failing to discover 
an officer of the city in sight he ventured in, but in fifteen minutes 
afterwards was se°n marching down the street between two police 
going in the direction of the county jail. He fumed and protested, 
he threatened to bring in a troop of negro soldiers, and yet the police 
minded him not. A few minutes later the great prison door was 
opened and he ushered into the company of his engineers, conduc- 
tors and brnkemen. He swore he would rot in jail, but he didn't. 
His men swore they would sue the company and nothing short cf a 
compromise kept them from it. 


Superintendent Pitcairne took two meals in jail, changed his 
mind, pledged the revenues of the road to any citizen who would bail 
him and his men and soon left^lhe town. 

His dignity was completely destroyed, the importance of his po- 
sition manifestly insignificant, and two days afterwards he begged to 
be permitted to remove his engine and train, which had stood in the 
street for a week without steam, back to the depot. 

By this time the county jail had become such terror the Mayor 
was forced to accompany an engineer to the engine in order to assure 
him that he would not be molested in raising steam and then backing 
back to the depot. 

These were exciting times, and all the while the United States 
mail or the agent had never been molested. This important func- 
tionary was permitted to ride down to Water Street unnoticed, 
and afterwards to foot it or take passage in an express wagon 
suited his pleasure. One of their dignitaries, tpo lazy to walk, and 
too important to ride in a country wagon, reported the city authori- 
ties to the Postmaster General. 

An agent of the Postal Department was dispatched to Hender- 
son to investigate the charges preferred, and, having heard the evi- 
dence, unhesitatingly endorsed the action of the city. No more cars 
were run to Water street, but the judgments recovered in the City 
Court amounted to over two thousand dollars. Immediately after the 
release of Superintendent Pitcairn, General Boyle instituted suit in 
the United States Court, at Louisville, against the city, for the right 
of way and damage. 

The stoppage of the United States mails in the streets of the 
city was one of the allegations in this remarkable petition. 

May 29th, the Common Council directed the Mayor, City Attor- 
ney, Judge Eaves and Judge S. B. Vance, to proceed to Louisville 
and enter defense to the suit of the American Contract Company, 
and the Mayor authorized and empowered to employ additional and 
experienced counsel in that city. Hon. Isaac Caldwell was employed, 
and, at his instance, Hon. Harvey Yeaman, whom the City of Hender" 
son delighted to honor, not alone on account of his eminent legal 
qualifications, but his high and noble personal and social culture, was 
associated with him. 

An answer was filed and the case continued to July. During the 
time, the officers of the city busied themselves securing evidence and 
in various ways fortifying the defense. 


July came, and on the sixth day of that month the case was 
reached and called for trial. Both parties announced themselves 
ready. The city, by her attorneys, filed a demurrer to the petition, 
and upon the trial of this hung the fate of General Boyle and his 
company. The papers were read and Judge Ballard, without listen- 
ing to a prepared speech from either side, sustained the demurrer- 
He even decided that if a mail agent (whose importance had been 
so magnified and relied upon by the plaintiffs) had violated a law, he 
too was as much liable to arrest as any officer of the train. This de- 
cision was a death blow to General Boyle. It must have been, for 
this peculiarly great man could not restrain a tear or two. 

A few months subsequent to this trial, the American Contract 
Company sold the road and its franchises to Winslow and Wilson, of 
the St. Louis & Southeastern Railroad, running from Evansville to 
St. Louis. 

July 5th, 1872, the Mayor called the attention of the Council, in 
a message, to a meeting to be held in Hopkinsville, July 29th, for the 
purpose of consolidating the two roads, and thereupon the following 
named gentlemen were appointed to report what policy should be 
adopted by the city : James F. Clay, S. B. Vance, Henry F. Turner, 
John O'Byrne, Ben. Harrison, T. M. Jenkins, Governor A. Dixon, 
William S. Johnson, N. H. Barnard, John C. Stapp and P. H. King. 
July 26th, the committee reported to the Council as follows : 

"After mature consultation your committee reports the following: 

Rf solved, That from all the information we have, it will be to the interest 
of the Citv of Henderson for a consolidation of the E., H. & N. R. R. with 
the St. Louis & Southeastern and the Edgefield & Kentucky Railroad, if the 
same can be made upon equitable terms; and we therefore recommend that 
the City Council so direct the vote of the stock, and upon the best terms they 
can make. JAMES F. CLAY, Chairman. 

"BEN. HARRISON, Secretary." 

This report was adopted by the Council, and the Mayor instructed 
to attend the meeting at Hopkinsville, and so vote the stock of the 
city. The proposition to consolidate the three roads was carried by 
an overwhelming majority. 

September 5th, 1872, an ordinance was passed granting perma- 
nent right of way over Fourth street, with the right to build to low 
water mark, to establish a transfer for freight and passengers, under 
an agreement between the city and the St. Louis & Southeastern Rail- 
road, consolidated. There were many stipulations in this agreement, 
the most important, that Henderson should not be discriminated against 
in shipments of freights ; that the machine shops of this division should 


be established here, and that the sum of two thousand dollars recov- 
ered in judgments against the employes of the E., H. & N. should 
be paid. The two thousand dollars was paid by General Winslow, 
and with that ended the Boyle-Pitcairne farce. 

The following handsome buildings were erected during this year : 
Hon. M. Yeaman's residence, Haffey, Fleming & Clores block of 
three-story brick store houses, corner Main and First Streets, the 
Planters' Bank and C. H. [ohnson & Bros, book store. 

December 1st, a committee composed of several members of the 
Council, and other citizens was appointed to co-operate with a com- 
mittee from Vanderburgh County, Indiana, for the purpose of organ- 
izing a short line railroad company connecting the two cities of Hen- 
derson and Evansville. This connection was to be made on the In- 
diana side, and in order to encourage the subscription of a sufficient 
sum for the purpose, upon the recommendation of the Mayor he was 
authorized to subscribe the sum of fifteen thousand dollars for and 
in behalf of the city. This proposition failed to materialize, owing 
to the fact the people on the Indiana side failed or refused to give it 
the necessary encouragement. 


January 2d, the inhabitants, that is, many of them, were consid- 
erably exercised over the passage of a compulsory vaccination ordi- 

March 19th, for the purpose of encouraging manufactories, an 
ordinance was passed releasing manufactories, where the building and 
machinery was worth in the aggregate ten thousand dollars in cash, 
from taxation for city purposes for the term of five years. 

In November of this year that very remarkable horse disease 
known as the "epizootic " swept the country. Henderson, as well as 
other cities, suffered on account of it, and to relieve the pressing 
need of teams, December 7th an ordinance was passed permitting 
teams from the country or elsewhere to haul throughout the city limits 
free of license. All of the livery horses, as well as those belonging 
to private stables, were more or less affected, yet but few losses oc- 
curred on account of it. This was a blood and lung disease and was 
easily detected by the following symptoms : At the beginning the 
animal exhibited a drowsy, mopy disposition, then a swelling of the 
under jaw and legs, then a continued hacking cough, then heavy dis- 
charges of mucous from the nose. A drench of linseed oil, sweet 
spirits of nitre, quinine and gum goaccum, in proportionate parts, 
and the animal kept heavily blanketed, effected a sure cure. 


In 1881 a disease somewhat similar made its appearance. This 
was called the " Pink Eye " and evidenced itself in the horse by 
swelling, mattery eyes and leg swelling. This was a kidney disease, 
and the same drench used as in the "Epizootic." In addition to this 
Captain Thomas Gilligan, who treated a number of horses with won- 
derful success, used a prescription made of proportionate parts of 
powdered gentian, sassafras, skunk cabbage, cream tartar, sal nitre, 
pulverized ginger, sulphur, digitalis, blood root and berchie leaves. 
This was made into a powder and fed twice a day in bran. 

Preliminary steps were taken during the fall looking to the build- 
ing of the bridge across the Ohio. 


April 5th, the city purchased the present hospital site and build- 
ing of Mrs. Sterling Payne. 

June 3d, F. W. Reutlinger, executor of the will of John Pernet, 
tendered the City Council one hundred dollars, an amount directed 
by the testator to be given to 'he poor of Henderson. This generous 
public benefaction was appropriately accepted by the Council and 
placed to the credit of a special fund to be disposed of as intended 
by the gracious donor. 

Early in the month of May the stern wheel steamboat ''Collier" 
sank at the wharf foot of Second Street. She was permitted to re- 
main unmolested, except by the current, until the third day of June, 
when an order was passed by the Council directing her removal. A 
few weeks after a contract was entered into with Captain Hiram Hill, 
the noted submarine diver and wrecker, at and for the sum of $1,'200, 
to remove the wreck. On the 17th day of December he completed 
his work. The owners of the boat brought suit against the city, but 
failed to make a case. 

September 2d, the severe restrictions placed upon the sale of \ ege- 
tables, fish, meats, etc., were removed. 

November 4 1th, the first Hook and Ladder wagon, together with 
a full complement of buckets, ladders, etc., was purchased of B. Bruce 
& Co., of Cincinnati, at a cost of one thousand dollars. 


On the 16th day of February, Hon. Jacob Held qualified and 
assumed the duties of Mayor of the city. The new administration 
directed the Finance Committee, and very properly, to report the 
financial condition of the city. On the 3d day of March this com- 


mittee reported the assets of the city amounting to $563,643.84 ; lia- 
bilities, $429,411.09; assets in excess of liabilities, $134,232.75. 

March 24th, by order of the Council, seconded by the County 
Court, the beautiful shade trees*novv surrounding Court House Square 
were planted out. 

May 5th, Thomas F. Cheaney, School Enumerator, reported in 
the city 1,118 white children between the ages of six and twenty 
years, and 418 colored children between the ages of six and sixteen. 

May 20th, the press of Kentucky met here in convention, and 
were elegantly entertained. For this purpose, in addition to hand- 
some sums contributed by citizens, the City Council donated six hun- 
dred dollars. 


On the 15th day of February Rescue Hook and Ladder Com 
pany tendered its services to the city, and was received as a volun- 
teer fire company. 

In the spring of this year, 1875, the State Medical Society held 
its annual meeting in Henderson, attended by very many disting- 
uished members of the profession. 

The society was elegantly entertained by Dr. P. Thompson. 
David Clark, Thomas Soaper and E. L. Starling. 

October 5th a contract was entered into with Delker & Blondin 
for the building of the first horse wagon ever owned by the City of 
Henderson at and for the price of $375. 

October 5th the Superintendent of the Public School reported 
the total enrolment of pupils 785. Of this number 382 were boys 
and 403 were girls. Daily attendance, 587. 

March 16th the remains of the five men shot by Colonel Glenn's 
troops during the war and interred near the water works grounds, 
were exhumed by order of the Council and buried in the City Ceme- 

A valuable lithograph map of the city by G. M. Alves, City En- 
gineer, was offered for sale during the month of March. 

The delinquent lists returned by the Marshal for 1873, four and 
five, were very large and the sales of property for taxes due were 

The Jay Cooke panic had had its effect, and this, coupled with 
the very high taxation impos'ed upon the people, was more than very 


many of them were able to contend with. 

The distress of the people necessarily crippled the city govern- 
ment, yet under all of these unlooked for circumstances the city man- 
aged to pull through by exercising close and scrutinizing economy. 

A report of the City Clerk of amounts received and disbursed 
from September 1st, 1874, to September 7th, 1875, inclusive, shows 
$67,738.99 received and $67,824.74 disbursed, showing the disburse- 
ments to exceed the receipts only $85.75. 

September 7th the administration of Mayor Jacob Held termin- 
ated by limitation, and upon retiring Mr. Held delivered an appro- 
propriate an.d feeling valedictory. 

Hon. John C. Atkinson upon assuming the responsible position 
just vacated by the Hon. Jacob Held, read his inaugural address, a 
paper of considerable length, but full of most excellent suggestions. 
This paper showed that the executive fully comprehended the wishes 
and wants of the people, and in dealing with matters of public con- 
cern was clear, strong and graceful. After having called the atten- 
tion of the Council to the importance of the trusts committed to its 
keeping, he argued that the debt of the city should not be extended 
beyond what it then was, and that the taxes must in no event be in- 
creased, and that the strictest economy should be exercised in every 
department of the city government. In the exercise of retrenchment 
and economy, he urged the Council to examine into various offices 
made subject to its control by the charter, and ascertain whether or 
not they were indispensible to the proper working of the municipal 
machinery. He urged the abolishment of all offices which could be, 
without material detriment to the public service, to inquire into the 
amount of salaries, and if found too high, cut them down to an 
amount considered a fair compensation for the work rendered. He 
argued that existing salaries were fixed at a time when general pros- 
perity prevailed and money possessed a less value, but a time of 
business depression, and where labor was seeking in vain its just re- 
ward, that salaries and expenses should be reduced and made to con. 
form to the standard of values then existing in other departments of 
business. He urged the Council to make some provision for the pay- 
ment of the bonds falling due in less than twelve years, to the import- 
ance of the sinking fund, to the heavy debt of the city and large 
amount of interest to be paid semi-annually. 

The Mayor dwelt at some length upon the pride the Council 
should feel in the advantages possessed by Henderson. Its spacious 
wharf, broad and well paved streets, its well appointed gas works 


giving free of charge more street lamps than any city of similar size, 
its water works, which would afford an abundant supply of pure 
water for all purposes, its beautiful city of the dead, where death is 
robbed of half his terrors, its public schools, where all of the youth 
within the limits of the corporation, both white and colored, are in- 
structed. These he urged were the city's jewels of priceless value 
and should be closely watched and nourished. 

He paid a high compliment to those public-spirited citizens who 
composed the " Rescue Hook and Ladder Company," who, without 
the hope of fee or reward, save the consciousness of a duty performed 
in mitigating or pre^'enting the misfortune of those unhappy citizens 
whose toil of a lifetime is threatened with destruction in an hour, hold 
themselves in readiness to brave all the dangers incident to a fire- 
man's life. 

In conclusion, the Mayor said : " A united and harmonious city 
government striving to promote the happiness and prosperity of all, 
even the humblest citizen, and animated by an earnest desire to dis- 
charge their duty, will certainly accomplish much. We have fallen 
on troublous times for the past two years, the business of the coun- 
trv has been deranged and trade is not found in its accustomed chan- 
nels, but this condition must shortly have an end. The signs of a 
change are favorable and already streaks of light of the coming day 
mark the horizen, and but a few months will elapse before the hus- 
bandman will again receive the promised reward of his labor, the 
busy hum of industry will be heard as loud as ever on our streets, labor 
will not seek in vain for its accustomed employment and the ring of 
the anvil and the trowel and the noise of the hammer and saw will 
make sweetest music for our ears." 

The tax levied for 1875 was 85 cents for city purposes, 60 cents 
for school, 90 cents for railroad and 50 cents to pay interest on water 
works bonds, making a total of $2.85 on each $100 of valuation. In 
addition to this a poll-tax of $2 on each male citizen over the age of 
twenty-one years. 

To collect this tax was a very difficult matter and in very many 
cases absolutely impossible. In many cases the Collector was com- 
pelled to sell realty and personalty, and altogether the burden was 
something terrible. Therefore it was the object and aim of the new 
administration to conform to the most economical views, and to there- 
by relieve the citizen taxpayer as much as possible. 



On September 21st, the first meeting after the inauguration, the 
Retrenchment Committee reported, recommending sweeping reduc- 
tions in salaries and in some instances abolishment of offices. 

October 5lh, after being amended and added to in one or two 
particulars, the report of the committee was adopted. 

November 16th, a contract was entered into with George W. 
Scantland, for the purchase of sufficient ground for the extension of 
Adams Street, from Third to Fourth, at the L. & N. depot. 


Outside of the completion of the water works and necessary leg- 
islation concerning that important public enterprise, nothing of ma- 
terial interest occurred during the year. 

April 25th the city alarm bell was purchased at a cost of three 
hundred and twenty dollars. 

July 18th a contract was entered into by and between the city 
and John Haffey for building the sewer, now running from the inter- 
section of First and Water Streets to the river. 

The delinquent list this year was, as for several years previous, 
distressingly large. 


The number of children of school age reported this year was 
1112 white and 410 colored. 

May 1st the Retrenchment Committee reported in favor of issu- 
ing $98,000 in 6 and 7 per cent, bonds, to be used in redeeming the 
same amount of outstanding bonds bearing 10 per cent, interest. 
This proposition failed to be adopted by the Council. 

The assessment of property reported this year was : for city pur- 
purposes $2,162,035, lor water works $2,200,210, for school $2,147,- 
960, for railroad $2,618,190. Upon this assessment the following 
levy was made : For city 80 cents on the $100 valuation, 55 cents for 
school, $1 for railroad and 50 Qents for water works. The delinquent 
list, as in. previous years, continued to be very large. 


A volunteer fire company, known as " Hose Company No. 1," 
tendered its services and was accepted by the city. April 16th a hose 
reel was purchased for the benefit of this company. 

January 1st, the charter was again amended, and in addition, an 
act was approved authorizing the city to fund her indebtedness. 


There were outstanding at that time bonds of the city represent- 
ing two hundred thousand dollars, bearing seven per cent, interest. 
One hundred thousand dollars bearing eight per cent, interest, issued 
to aid in building the Henderson & Nashville Railroad. Twenty- 
eight thousand dollars of school bonds, bearing ten per cent, inter- 
est. Sixty-one thousand three hundred dollars of city funding bonds, 
bearing ten per cent, interest. Thirteen thousand five hundred dol- 
lars of water works extension bonds, bearing eight per cent, interest, 
and one hundred thousand dollars of water works bonds, bearing ten 
per cent, interest. The total outstanding bonded indebtedness at 
that time was $496,800, bearing an annual interest of $42,280. 
Coupled with the gradual decrease in price of all real estate, and ne- 
cessary high taxes to meet this fixed and certain interest, an outstand- 
ing scrip debt of eleven or twelve thousand dollars, and scrip below 
par, it will require but little thought to determine the difficulties Mayor 
Atkinson and his Council labored under in keeping up the ordinary 
running machinery of government, to say nothing of the city's good 
credit. Yet, considering all of this, as has been before said, the city 
never defaulted in payment of her semi-annual interest. 

By the amended charter of 1873-4, a sinking fund was established 
for the payment of the bonded debt, and among other sources of rev- 
enue specified for said fund, it was provided that the revenue derived 
from the tax on licenses and from all other specific tax should be sa- 
credly devoted to the payment of the bonded debt of the city and to 
no other purpose. The fund available to the city for expenses con- 
sisted of the ad valorem and poll tax, whatever those amounts may 
have been, and the receipts from wharfage and fines, the whole 
amounting, after deductmg commissions and delinquencies, to $22,000 
or $23,000. This amount, then, constituted the fund at the command 
of the Council to carry on the government, keep the streets in repair, 
and do such other things as were regarded absolutely necessary. It 
was evident that the people could not, or would not, suffer under this 
terrible yoke much longer. A very large majority of the people were 
beginning to consider a compromise, not a repudiating compromise, 
but one to be adjusted upon an honorable and equitable basis, while 
there were a smaller number who were in favor of scaling the bonds 
with a merciless indiscretion. This excitement continued to grow, 
yet all the while the Board of Sinking Fund Commissioners, of which 
the Mayor is, and was, ex officio chairman, strived without ceasing to 
bring about a satisfactory settlement. As this history progresses we 
shall see what was the result of the compromise. 


The colored school had grown to such magnitude it was found 
necessary to have more room, and in order to accommodate the in- 
creased number of pupils, July 16th an addition of twenty by thirty 
feet was ordered made to the school house. Be it said to the credit 
of the Council, in all of its travails, sight was never lost of the edu- 
cational interest of the city, but loans and donations were frequently 
extended to the blacks as well as the whites. 

This was the year of the great temperance revival, sailing under 
the color of the "Red Ribbon." The movement had been inaugu- 
rated in the latter part of 1877, by an Evansville club headed by 
General James M. Shackelford, and had swept everything before it 
like a whirlwind. It was calculated to do good, and did do good, but 
the apathy of leading officers, partaken of by those 'who had been 
most active, submitted the organization to the inevitable of all such 
movements. Henderson alone did not partake of this wonderful con- 
tagion, but it swept the entire county. At Cairo, Robards, Hebbards- 
ville, Corydon, Smith's Mills, Zion, and other places, clubs were 
formed and great numbers of people signed the pledge. All of these, 
be it sorrowfully said, have '"'' turned their toes to the daisies.^^ 

This year begins with the Council of the city still laboring to ef- 
fect a settlement of the bonded indebtedness. In order that this 
settlement may be thoroughly understood, it is deemed best to take 
up the beginning and follow it to the end. In the latter part of 1878 
Mayor Atkinson had urged the Council to appoint a committee for 
the purpose of giving the matter a calm and wise consideration, and 
to recommend some plan for the funding of the bonded debt. The 
Council at this time was composed of VV. H. Lewis, George H. Steele, 
F. E. Kreipke, Henry Unverzaght, J. O. Clore, William H. Sandefur, 
Fred Kleiderer and Martin Schlamp. A committee was appointed 
consisting of S. K. Sneed, L. C. Dallam, John E. McCallister, L. H. 
Lyne, John C. Atkinson, composing the Board of Sinking Fund Com- 
missioners, and M. Yeaman, Attorney for the city. On the sixteenth 
day of January this committee, composed of gentlemen of the finest 
financial ability, and all men of more than average wealth, gave the 
matter referred to them the closest scrutiny, weighing well the inter- 
est of the city, as well as consulting the rights of the bondholders, 
and, after calm and due deliberation, unanimously recommended that 
the city give in exchange for their outstanding bonds a new " bond 
bearing six per cent, interest (interest payable semi-annually), payable 
in thirty years after date (with the option of the city to redeem after 


five years) at the rate of eighty cents to one dollar for the seven per 
cent bonds, ninety cents to one dollar for the eight per cent, bonds, 
and one hundred cents to the on^dollar for the ten per cent bonds. 
This will be, as we believe, substantial and relative justice to all par- 
ties, would be a saving to the city of $15,000 a year interest and 
$50,000 of the principal debt, and give to the bondholder a safer in- 
vestment of his money in a bond the city can more certainly provide 
for." This report was received and filed for future consideration. 
On the 18th day of February the question was again called up, and 
thereupon a report, signed by seven members of the Council, and a 
minority report signed by one member, were received and ordered 

The majority committee, composed of Fred. Kleiderer, F, E. 
Kreipke, J. O. Clore, George H. Steele, W. H. Unverzagt, Martin 
Schlamp and W. H. Sandefur, reported that m their opinion the city 
should issue new bonds bearing five per cent, interest, payable semi- 
annually, the bonds payable in thirty years, but may be redeemed at 
the pleasure of the city at any time after five years ; said new bonds 
to be given in exchange for the now outstanding bonds of the city, on 
the following basis : Seventy cents on the dollar for seven per cent, 
railroad bonds, eighty cents on the dollar for eight per cent, railroad 
bonds, one hundred cents on the dollar for school, water works and 
city bonds. 

The minority report was signed by Councilman W. H. Lewis and 
is in substance as follows : He reasoned that as property had shrunk 
in value below fifty per cent,, that there was no reason Nyhy the bonds 
should not shrink in a like ratio; therefore, that he favored paxing 
the seven per cent, bonds at fifty cents on the dollar, the eight per 
cent, bonds at sixty cents on the dollar, and the ten per cent, bonds at 
seventy-five cents on the dollar, and that the settlement be made by 
substituting a new bond bearing five, per cent, interest. 

The proposition to fund the bonded indebtedness of the city had 
now become the town talk, nothing else was thought of. Politicians 
and office seekers had seizf:d upon it and hoped to ride into office 
upon their own peculiar hobby, no matter how damaging their views 
may have been to the public welfare. Scores of men who barely 
knew the marked difference between a city bond and a map of North 
America, talked of nothing else but bonds, and just what sort of a 
settlement should be adopted, and thus it was the weak kneed, look- 
ing ahead for accumulating popularity, pandered to the ruinous policy) 
while the substantial element, holding the general good of the city 


paramount to popular favor or personal aggrandizement, held out for 
an equitable and just basis. 

The bondholders recognized that the city needed relief, and were 
more than willing to contribute to it. 'I'hey were, perhaps, the origina- 
tors of the movement, for a large majority of them were deeply inter- 
ested outside of the amount of bonds they held. 

March 4th, Mayor Atkinson urged the Council that if they pro- 
posed to adhere to the majority report that they appoint a committee 
to prepare and submit a printed proposal to the bondholders. Upon 
this suggestion a committee was appointed consisting of the Mayor 
and Attorney Yeamen. In addition to this, as a sort of persuader, 
they were to incorporate with the proposal a statement of the city's 
debt and her resources, as they might deem advisable. On the twelfth 
day of March the committee reported a paper addressed to the bond- 
holders wherein they set forth the wishes of the Council, as reported 
by the majority committee, in regard to funding the bonds, making a 
clear exhibit of the bonded indebtedness of the city, the valuation of 
property in the city for taxation for city, railroad, school and water 
works purposes, showing the property belonging to the city and from 
what source she derives her revenues, the current expenses of the 
city, and, in fact, a clear, full and fair exhibit of all matters pertaining 
to the subject then in hand. Upon the report of Mayor Atkinson 
and Hon. M. Yeaman, Council advisor, being read, a resolution was 
passed by the Council approving of the report, and requesting the 
bondholders to signify their acceptance or rejection of the proposi- 
tion of the Council contained in said statement on or before the first 
day of May, 1879. This statement was inclosed to the bondholders, 
and on April 1st Mayor Atkinson and Mr. Yeaman reported that a 
majoritv of the holders of the bonds had been heard from, and that 
most of them refused to accept the proposition of the Council, and 
urged that the report of the Sinking Fund Commissioners, or some- 
thing else which would likely be accepted by the bondholders be pro- 
posed to them. Thereupon the Council, like unto eight lost men, 
afraid of their own shadows, resolved and directed Mayor Atkinson, 
(notwithstanding the bondholders had signified a willingness to accept 
the proposition as embodied in the report of the Sinking Fund Com- 
missioners) to correspond with those bondholders from whom he had 
heard, as well as those from whom he had not, what '' plan or propo- 
sition " they were willing to accept, assuring them that the Council 
was desirous of coming to some honorable settlement. The Mayor 
was then requested to report at the next regular meeting. April 28th 


Mayor Atkinson reported that he had conversed with a number of the 
largest bondholders, but failed to get any proposition from them. He 
again urged the adoption of the proposition of the Sinking Fund Com- 
missioners, whereupon a motion was made to receive and record the 
report of the Mayor, but it was lost by a vote of four to four, Messrs. 
Steele, Kreipke, Sandefur and Kleiderer voting in the affirmative, 
Messrs. Unverzaght, Clore, Schlamp and Lewis in the negative. 

Again, on the 6th day of May, Mayor Atkinson urged the adop- 
tion of the Sinking Fund proposition, but no action was taken. 

In order to settle this perplexing question the Council held fre- 
quent caucus meetings. New ideas suggested themselves and were 
discussed. Every evidence of ability was exercised to effect an in- 
telligent solution of the momentous matters in hand. Just the thing 
to do, the proper step to take was the question. The supervisors of 
the tax books had reported, and the time had arrived for levying the 
several taxes. The report had been referred to the Finance Commit- 
tee and they were ready with their report. The Mayor called a meet- 
ing for June 6th for the purpose of considering the report of the Fi- 
nance Committee upon the report of the Supervisors and Assessor. 
Mayor Atkinson and the Council differed as to what course should be 
pursued in levying the annual taxes for 1879. The very strange 
course the Council seemed determined upon was met by the Mayor's 
strong opposition, but was passed over him by a unanimous vote. The 
Finance Committee had reported that a tax of $3.45 would have to 
be levied upon each $100 valuation, in order to defray expenses, pay 
interest, and so on, and furthermore that State taxation would in- 
crease said amount to $4. Accompanying this report was also a reso- 
lution, that the Council levy only a tax of 30 cents on each $100 val- 
uation for school purposes and 70 cents to defray the necessary ex- 
penses of the city for the year ending July 1st, 1880. Also that it 
would be inexpedient to levy any tax to pay existing interest on the 
bonded indebtedness. This resolution, it would seem, was intended 
as a genuine bulldozer^ no doubt to frighten the holders of the city's 
bonds into a compromise, but such was not the case, as will be seen 
further on. The truth was, the Council had " dilly dallied " long 
enough. A liberal compromise had been offered them, but rejected, 
and the people were beginning to become restive and out of all pa- 

The city was losing ground every day and something had to 
be done, therefore, as a feeler more than anything else, this reso- 
lution was passed. It was worded to capture the masses, and al- 


together was a serio comic dodge calculated to " wake the natives " 
to a sense of the terrible condition they had gotten themselves into 
without persuasion, and the bond holders to a sense of the perilous 
monitary situation gradually surrounding them. This movement of 
the checkmate, all of a sudden, failed to have the desired effect. 
The bondholders paid no attention to it, but moved along as serenely 
and complacently as though nothing had ever occurred to mar their 
peaceful equilibrium. Thus matters went on until it was discovered 
that something must indeed be done. A large number of mechanics 
had left the city and others were prepari,ng to follow after. No build- 
ings were going up, houses were being emptied, and altogether the 
signs of the times were becoming truly alarming. The bondholders 
could stand it, but those who had to live by the sweat of their 
brow could not. 

September 2d Mayor Atkininson's term of office expired, and re- 
lying upon a consciousness of having done his whole duty as an exe- 
cutive, he gracefully surrendered the reins of government to Hon. 
Francis M. English, his duly elected successor. 

Upon the inauguration of the new Mayor, who be it said, had 
been elected upon the compromise excitement as the very man of all 
men to effect a satisfactory settlement, this vexed question was 
again called up in the shape of a resolution requesting the bondhold- 
ers to meet the Common Council in conference on Tuesday evening, 
September 9th. No meeting it appears was held for a month, and 
yet the city was not only dead, but the corpse gradually growing 
colder and colder. 

October 9th the Council met in called session, and upon assem- 
bling, Mayor English stated the object of the meeting to be to con- 
sider what proposition should be made to the bondholders. 

At this meeting it is evident that the Council was in a better 
frame of mind and more determined to a settlement. As a sort of 
" feeler," Councilman Kleiderer proposed as a basis of settlement 
the minority report of Councilman Lewis, made February 18th, 1879. 
A vote was taken and resulted in its defeat, no one voting for it, save 
Mr. Lewis himself. Thereupon the majority report made to the 
Council upon the same date, was proposed and unanimously adopted. 
Mr. Lewis voimg for it for the purpose of having the matter settled, 
Mayor Englibh was then directed to communicate with the bondhold- 
ers by printed circular. 

Octobei 4th, 1879, Mayor English addressed to Colonel L. H. 
Lyne, John H. Barret and others, a notice of the action of the Coun- 


cil, inclosing them one of the printed propositions, and requesting an 
answer by the twenty-first ; also requesting all creditors and taxpayers 
of the city lu ue present. The^reditors and taxpayers failed to put 
in an appearance, from th j fact, perhaps, it was regarded a difficult 
and uncomfortable matter to impress one thousand or more people 
into a room only capable of accommodating forty or more. One hun- 
dred and fifty-six taxpayers did put in an appearance by petition, how- 
ever, and a petition that had its weight. 

At the meeting, October 21st, Mayor English reported a letter 
from John G. Morton, representing the Hopkins county bondholders, 
declining to accept the proposition of the Council as communicated 
in the printed circular ; also a petition signed by one hundred and 
fifty-six citizens requesting the Council to offer to the bondholders 
new bonds bearing five per cent, interest, in lieu of the seven and 
eight per cent, outstanding bonds, and new bonds bearing six per cent, 
interest in lieu of the ten per cent, outstanding bonds. This peti- 
tion, as before stated, had its weight, as the following resolution passed 
by the Council October 24th, three days after, will show : 

^'Resolved, That this Council tender to the holders of the outstanding 
bonds of the City ot Henderson, Kj , new bonds, bearing five per cent, in- 
terest for the seven and eight per cent, bonds, and new bonds bearing six per 
cent, interest for the ten per cent bonds, said bonds to be issued under author- 
ity and in accordance with an act of the Legislature of the State of Kentucky, 
approved January 30th, 1878, and all past due interest on the outstanding 
bonds to be paid at same rate that the new bonds will bear to the old." 

This resolution was supported and voted for by Councilmen 
Kreipke, Unverzaght, Clore, Sandefur, Kleiderer and Schlarap. Op- 
posed by Steele and Lewis. Upon its passage the following resolu- 
tion of the Board of Sinking Fund Commissioners was read to the 
Council and by that body adopted. 

'^Besolved, That we agree that the funds now on hand and to come into 
the Treasury of this Board shall be applied to the payment of the interest on 
the new bonds proposed to be issued. 

Ayes — McCallister, Lyne, Dallam, Sneed and Mayor English. 

November 18th, Messrs. Leonard H. Lyne and S. K. Sneed, gen- 
tlemen who had from the beginning taken a most active and leading 
interest in the settlement of the bonded troubles upon an equkable 
and just basis, reported to the Council that holders of the bonds of 
the city amounting to $435,000 had signed an agreement accepting 
the proposition of the Council made to them. This report was re- 
ceived and Messrs. Lyne and Sneed requested to procure, if possi- 
ble, the signatures of the remaining bondholders. In addition to 


this, a committee was appointed to prepare the form of a funding 
bond, to be reported at their earliest convenience. 

It will be remembered that at a meeting of the Council held 
June 6th, a tax was levied only to pay the current expenses of the city 
government, and for the further purpose of carrying on the public 
schools. No levy subsequent to that time had been passed to meet 
the interest of the city falling due upon her outstanding bonded in- 
debtedness. But now matters had changed, a better feeling existed, 
the people, or at least one hundred and fifty-six of them, representing 
the general business and professional interest of the city, had become 
interested, and an agreement had about been concluded. The Council 
now determined and did pass an ordinance in relation to the levy and 
collection of certain taxes for 1879. This levy was exclusively for 
the purpose of paying interest, and was as follows: To pay the in- 
terest on railroad bonds, seventy-five cents on the one hundred dol- 
lars; to pay the interest on outstanding school bonds, ten cents on 
the one hundred dollars ; to pay the interest on water works bonds, 
thirty-five cents on the one hundred dollars. These amounts, coupled 
with the levy of seventy-five and thirty cents June 6th, made a grand 
total of two dollars and twenty-five cents on each one hundred dol- 
lars valuation, and was made upon the basis of the agreed bonded 

The assessed valuation for 1878 was, for city purposes, $2,131,- 
155; for water, $2,165,115; for school, $2,124,005; for railroad, $2,- 
411,780; the total levy for all purposes, $2.90. 

The assessed valuation for 1879 was, for city, $1,922,907; for 
water, $1,961,992; for school, $1,918,872; for railroad, $2,096,227, 
and the total levy, $2.25. 

Every citizen, with perhaps a few exceptions, was rejoiced at the 
long hoped for settlement, and business, which had been so distressed 
for many months, began immediately to assume a life both bright and 

November 20th, the Council, by resolution, directed the Board 
of Sinking Fund Commissioners to pay the past due interest upon 
the basis agreed upon. 

In compliance with a resolution passed by the Council July 20th, 
1880, inviting the Sinking Fund Commissioners and bondholders to 
meet the Council in reference to the bond settlement, the following 
named gentlemen met July 23d : Mayor English , Councilmen Kreipke, 
Clore, Unverzaght, Sandefur, Kleiderer, Schlamp and Lewis, and 




Messrs. L. H. Lyne, S. K. Sneed, L. C. Dallam, on the part of the 
Sinking Fund Board and bondholdeis, and E. B. Newcomb on the 
part of several bondholders. 

At this meeting it was agreed between the Council, Board of 
Sinking Fund Commissioners and bondholders represented, that the 
outstanding bonds should be replaced by a new bond bearing five 
and six per cent, interest, the only dissenting vote being that of Mr. 
Lewis. The following resolution was then passed, Colonel L. H. 
Lyne and E. B. Newcomb dissenting. 

''Resolved, That it is the sense of this Conference that no interest should 
be paid on the present outstanding bonds unless the holders of said bond^ 
agree to accept the new bonds and conform to the provisions of the resolution 
heretofore adopted " 

During the time this settlement was pending the City Assessor 
had made his assessment of property liable to taxation for the year 
1880, and returned his book to the Council. The Board of Super- 
visors, to-wit, ex-Mayor Jacob Held, John O'Byrne and Aaron F, 
Kennedy, appointed to compare and correct the books, met, and, 
after completing their labors, returned them, together with their re- 
port. The action of the Supervisors was so peculiar, and so differ- 
ent from that of any previous board, the Council, or a majority of 
that body, at least, were amazed, and by resolution not only refused 
to accept the action of the Supervisors, but thereupon directed the 
Assessor's book and the accompanying report referred back to them. 
The Supervisors seemed to be imbued with the idea ot scaling prop- 
erty as well as bonds, arguing that if bonds had depreciated in value 
so iiad real estate, and no matter how low a valuation had been placed 
upon real estate by the Assessor, it was yet entitled to a sweeping re- 
duction of twenty per cent. The Supervisors again met, and having 
matured a report, reduced it to writing, and, on the 23d day of July, 
1880, returned the same to the Council. The following is a copy : 

Henderson, Ky., July 22d, 1880. 

"To His Honor, the Mayor, and ihe Common Council: 

"Gentlemen— As supervisors of tax assessments the report furnished 
by us to your honorablr bod3 on June 30th, 1880, has been by your order re- 
committed to our further supervision, we beg leave to state that the duty as- 
signed us, has this day. July 22d. 1880, been completed, which herewith is 
furnished for vour consideration. In the judgment of the Board there has not 
been furnished them facts sufficient to make any alterations in their first re- 

'• With reference to the assessment of the city bonds, the Board are of 

the opinion that fifty cents ot their face value is all that they should be taxed, 
for the following reasons: 


" First. The bondholders personally appeared (at least several of them) 
before the Board and said that fifty cents was as much as their cash value. 

•' Second. Your Board was well advised, that not long since, less than 
fiftv cents of their face value was the amount for which some of them were ex- 
changed for cash. 

•• Third. In 186S there was real estate taxed for the interest on said bonds 
to the amount of $3,066,656. Since then real estate has been in the amount 
of $1,000,000 added, allot which is assessed in 1880 at $1,320,702, which shows a 
depreciation in said real estate of $2,744 954, thus a depreciation appears in 
said real estate of fully sixty-seven percent As the bondholders admit, and 
the facts establish, this depreciation, why should your Board fix a fictitious 
value on the bonds, at more than double their cash value. The oath and 
clearest judgment positively forbids it. 

*' In conclusion, since the Council cannot run the city government at sixty _ 
c^nts per one hundred dollars, and the fact that the bondholders insist upon 
property thus depreciated being taxed to pay the interest on the bonds at their 
face value, which are equally depreciated, the Council, if it meet their deiiiand, 
will be compelled greatly to increase the per cent of taxation above the amount 
for the year 1879, for which this Board is not responsible. 

"All of which is respectfully submitted. 



This very remarkable report was a sort of cannon shot, but 
nevertheless unsatisfactory to the Council. It was referred to four 
members of that body, namely, Messrs. Unverzaght, Kreipke, Lewis 
and Kleiderer, who, after having given the Assessor's book a thorough 
overhauling, and a scrutinizing attention to the report of the Super- 
visors, reported : 

Whereas, Complaints have been made to this Council that the report ol 
the Board of Supervisors of tax for the year 1880 in decreasing the value of 
all real estate, as reported by the Assessor, twenty per cent , and increasing 
certain lists as follows, in order, as they report, to equalize the value of real 
estate, and decreasing other lists for the same purpose, is unjust and unfair; 

'• Whereas, The Common Council have the right to hear complaints and 
to change, reduce or correct the tax list of any person ; and 

•' Whereas, The Council is satisfied that said complaints are well taken; 
therefore, be it 

Resolved, First. That the tax list reported by the Board of Supervisors be 
and the same is declared by this Council unfair, 

''Resolved, Second. That the tax books, or lists, as repoited by the Board 
of Supervisors, be changed and corrected so that the same will conform to the 


Assessor's lists or books as originally returned by said Assessor, and the taxes 
to be levied for the year 1880 shall be levied on the basis of the return of the 
lists or books by the Assessor. W. H. UNVERZAGHT 




From this it is quite plain that the Supervisors' report met with 
summary treatment and was consigned to the waste basket of " un- 
fair " public documents. The Council once again turned its atten- 
tion to the agreed settlement, and upon motion to change the deposi- 
tory at which the interest should be paid from the Bank of America, 
New York, as fixed in the original bonds, to that of the Treasury of 
the City of Henderson, opposition was again met, but the motion 
prevailed by the following vote : Ayes— Unverzaght, Kreipke, Klei- 
derer, Clore, Sandefur and Schlamp. Messrs. Lewis and Steele vot- 
ing in the negative. 

Thereupon the ordinance directing the issuing of the funding 
bonds as per the agreement, was placed upon its final passage and 
adopted by the following vote : Ayes — Unverzaght, Kreipke, Klei- 
derer, Clore, Sandefur and Schlamp. Nays— Lews and Steele, This 
ordinance directed to be issued the bonds of the City of Henderson 
to the amount of four hundred and ninety-six thousand eight hundred 
dollars. Three hundred and ninety-eight bonds of one thousand dol- 
lars each. One hundred and eighty-nine bonds of five hundred dollars 
each, and forty-three bonds of one hundred dollars each, to be num- 
bered serially as issued, commencing with number one, and to be des- 
ignated as series A,^B, C and D, to be payable to bearer, and fall due 
in thirty years from the date thereof, but redeemable at any time 
after the expiration of five years at the option of the City Council 
and to bear interest at the rate of 5 and 6 per cent, per annum. It 
was directed that the new bond to be issued in exchange for the out- 
standing railroad bonds, be designated as series "A" and entitle the 
holder to the same liens and priorities as were given the holder of the 
original bond. That the new bond to be issued in exchange for the 
outstanding school bonds, be designated as series " B " and entitle the 
holder to the same liens and priorities as were given the holder of the 
original bond. That the new bond to be issued in exchansfe for the 
outstanding bonds issued for city purposes, be designated as series " C" 
and entitle the holders to the same liens and priorities as were given 
the holder of the original bonds, and mat the new bond to be issued 
in exchange for the water works bonds, be designated as series "D" 


and entitle the holder to the same liens and priorities as were given 
the holders of the original bond. It was further directed that the 
bonds designated as series " A " should bear 5 percent, interest, pay 
able semi-annually, on the first day of May and November. Series 
" B " to bear 6 per cent, interest payable semi-annujilly, on the first 
day of May and November. Series " C " (with the exception of 
thirteen thousand five hundred dollars, which originally bore 8 per 
cent, interest) to bear 6 per cent, payable semi-annually, on the first 
day of September and March. The thirteen thousand five hundred 
dollars to bear 5 per cent, interest, payable semi-annually, on the 
same days. Series " D" to bear 6 per cent, interest, payable semi- 
annually, on the first day of March and September. Upon the 
adoption of the new bond and ordinance levying the tax for 1880 was 
read and adopted by the following vote : Ayes — Unverzaght, 
Kreipke, Kleiderer, Clore, Sandefur and Schlamp. Messrs. Lewis 
and Steele voting in the negative. 

The tax levy as fixed by this ordinance was as follows: An ad 
valorem tax of 60 cents on the one thousand dollars valuation as re- 
turned by the Assessor for city purposes, for defraying the current 
expenses of the city. An ad valorem tax of 30 cents for the pur- 
poses of defraying the expenses of the public school, and an addi- 
tional tax of 10 cents for the purpose of paying the interest on the 
the school bonds. An ad valorem tax of 70 cents for the purpose 
of paying the interest on the bonds issued for railroad purposes, and 
an ad valorem tax of 30 cents for the purpose of paying the interest 
on the water works bonds, making a total of two dollars tax levy, 
ninety cents less than 1878 and twenty-five cants less than 1879. 
This levy was made upon the following assessment : for city purposes, 
$1,980,864, for water works, $2,021,989, for railroad the same, for 
school, $1,980,864. 

I have endeavored to give a full and complete history of the 
long to be remembered settlement of the bonded indebtednes of the 
city of Henderson, which had its beginning in May 1877, during the 
administration of Hon. John C. Atkinson, and finally settled in Au- 
gust 1880, during the administration of Hon. F. M. English. 

To sum up this long contest in a few words it amounted to this : 
It was evident to a majority of the bondholders that the interest was 
too much for the city to bear up under, and that by funding their 
bonds at a lower rate of interest, the investment would certainly be- 
come a much safer one. They knew full well, better, in fact, than 
others, that the interest was too great and that it should be reduced. 


They were willing, in fact, more than willing, that such should be 
done, but upon a just and equitable basis. As to what this basis 
should be, the bondholders, and Council elected upon the heavy scal- 
ing idea, failed to agree. That"^ they were willing to give more than 
the Council ultimately demanded, is surely proven by comparing the 
proposition made by the Board of Sinking Fund Commissioners, Jan- 
uary 16th, 1869, with the final settlement. To make this plain, the 
outstanding bonded indebtedness of the city at the time the settle- 
ment was made consisted of the following bonds : One hundred and 
ninety-four railroad bonds of $1,000 each, bearing seven per cent, 
interest; twenty-seven city bonds for water works extension, of $500 
each, bearing eight per cent, interest; fifty -six school bonds of $500 
each, bearing ten per cent, interest; twenty-nine city bonds of $1,000 
each, bearing ten per cent interest ; fifty-six city bonds of $500 each, 
bearing ten per cent, interest; forty-three city bonds of $100 each, 
bearing ten per cent, interest; seventy-five water works bonds of 
$1,000 each, bearing ten per cent, interest, and fifty water works bonds 
of $500 each, bearing ten per cent, interest, making a to.tal of six 
hundred and thirty bonds bearmg seven, eight and ten per cent, in- 
terest and representing $496,000. 

January 16th, 18/9, the Board of Sinking Fund Commissioners, 
representing a large majority of the bondholders, proposed to the 
City Council to receive in lieu for the $194,000 of seven per cent, 
railroad bonds, new bonds bearing six per cent, interest and repre- 
senting $155,200 or twenty per cent, off of the face of the original 
bond. For the $100,000 eight per cent, railroad bonds, and $13,500 
eight per cent city water works extension bonds, new bonds bearing 
six percent, interest and representing $102,150, or ten percent, off of 
the face of the original bonds. For the $189,300 school, water 
works and city ten per cent, bonds, new bonds for the same face 
value, but bearing six per cent, interest. Under this agreement the 
total value of the new bonds would have been $446,650, bearing six 
per cent, interest, in place of $496,800 bearing seven, eight and ten 
per cent. 

This proposition was rejected, although the Council was repeat- 
edly importuned and urged by Mayor Atkinson and others to adopt it 
as a basis of settlement. Meetings were held week after week, and 
night after night, and yet no conclusion could be arrived at. Fi- 
nally, on the 24th day of Oct/ober, over nine months after the propo- 
sition made by the Board of Sinking Fund Commissioners had been 
rejected, the proposition to fund the bonded indebtedness at its ori. 


ginal face value, the seven and eight per cent, bonds to bear five per 
cent, and the ten per cent, bonds to bear six per cent., was submitted 
by the Council to the bondholders, and by a very large majority of 
them accepted. 

The difference between the propositions of January 16t4i and Oc- 
tober 24th, 1879, which it took the Council nine months of laborious 
work and study to harmonize, settles down to this : The bondhold- 
ers proposed to receive, January 16th, $50,150 less of principal and 
$66 more of interest than was voluntarily given them October 24th, 
nine months afterwards, as the following statement will show : 


$194,000 7 per cents, 20 off $i55.2oo at 6 per cent. 

113,5008 " 10 off 102,150 at 6 ♦' 

189,300 10 " GO off 189,300 at 6 ' 

$496,800 $50,150 $446,650 at 6 per cent. — '26729 


$194,000 7 per cents $194,000 at 5 per cent $ 9.700 

113,500 S " ....... 113,500 at 5 '• 5675 

1S9.300 TO " 189.300 at 6 " ii«35S 

$496,800 $496,800 $26,733— $26,733 

Interest in favor of Council ... $66 00 

Principal of debt against Council $50,150 

Thus the city had, after a settlement, a bonded indebtedness of 
$496,800, bearing five and six per cent, interest, when she could have 
had nine months before a bonded indebtedness of $446,500, bearing 
six per cent, interest. 

What was the loss in valuation and business during this long 
unnecessary, and almost ruinous, settlement, it is not the pur- 
pose of this work to investigate. That it was immense, maybe safely 
inferred. Since the settlement property has advanced faster than the 
assessor, and the whole city resounds with the ring of trowel and 

On the twenty-first day of January, the weather being intensely 
cold, with every p/ospect of a long cold spell, the Henderson Coal 
and Mining Company, with commendable liberality, donated twelve 
hundred bushels of coal to be delivered gratuitously to the suffering 
and destitute of the city. This liberal contribution of one of the 
greatest comforts of life was distributed by the Mayor and a commit- 
tee of the Council, and it is not surprising to know that many persons. 


far from belonging to the unfortunate class for whom this charity was 
intended, were importunate applicants, and had to be watched 
closely. _j. 

May 15th the annual conclave of the Knights Templar of Ken- 
tucky held its meeting in Henderson and was largely attended. The 
city was beautifully bedecked with flags, and altogether the grand oc- 
casion was one long to be remembered. A sumptuous and magnifi- 
cent banquet was given the Grand Commandery at Marshal's ware- 
house on Third, between Main and Water Streets. 

July 21st a rigid quarantine was established, and an ordinance 
passed to prevent, if possible, the introduction of yellow fever. 

This ordinance made it a penalty for any railway company or 
other persons operating or controlling any railway or trains leading 
into Henderson to transport over such road any cars, freight, passen- 
gers or baggage coming from south of Guthrie to within less than 
five miles of the city before obtaining permission of the city. No 
steamboat coming from a point on the Ohio River south of Paducah 
was permitted to land passengers, freight or baggage within less than 
five miles of the city without permission. This was the year of the 
frightful fever epidemic at Memphis and still further up the Missis- 
sippi River at Hickman, Kentucky. It will be remembered that Dr. 
John L. Cook, of this city, a brilliant young physician, husband 
and father, volunteered his services, went to Hickman and soon be- 
came himself a victim of the terrible scourge. Dr. Pickney Thomp- 
son, of this city, as President of the State Board of Health, also visited 
the plague-stricken city. Surely Henderson contributed liberally to 
the comfort^and health of the Hickman people. 

The Grand Lodge of Kentucky, Knights of Pythias, held its 
annual meeting in this city in September. At the same time the 
Henderson Fair Association was holding its meeting; the city was 
alive with flags and music, and a general good cheer pervaded the 
town. There were a large number of Knights from different portions 
of the State, and their handsome bearing was noticeable. A compe- 
tition drill was given in the ring of the Fair Association, and Ivy 
Lodge lost, Evansville winning the prize. An unsurpassable banquet 
was given the Grand Lodge at Marshal's warehouse. Altogether, 
1879 was a gala year for Henderson and will be remembered with in- 
finite pleasure for years to come. W. VV. Blackwell, of this city, was 
elected Grand Chancellor at this meeting. He is the youngest mem- 
ber ever elected to that exalted position, being only thirty years of 
age at the time of his election. 



February 27th, an act of the General Assembly of Kentucky 
was passed, incorporating the " Henderson Female Seminary," Miss 
Mary McCullogh, principal, Hons. John Young Brown and H. F. 
Turner, James R. Barret, Ben C. Redford, Dr. W. M. Hanna, Thomas 
Soaper, James Alves, David Clark and A. S. Winstead, incorporators 
and trustees. This magnificent institution of learning deservedly 
ranks among the first in the State. 

The city purchased during this year her two fine horses " Jumbo " 
and " Dido " and shut up the market house by converting its rear 
end into a stable. 


An ordinance was passed on the fifth day of May granting the 
Henderson Bridge Company the right to bridge the Ohio River, to- 
gether with all other privileges thereto appertaining. 

February 23d an ordinance was passed reducing the price of 
gas from $S to $2.25. This ordinance was bitterly fought and only 
passed by the vote of Mayor English. Upon its passage a motion 
was made to shut off the street lamps. Mayor English opposed it. The 
vote stood : For shutting off — Unverzaght, Clore, Kleiderer and San- 
defur. Opposed — Schlamp, Steele, Kreipke and Lewis. 



Nathaniel F. Ruggles, 1819 to 1835 ; Levi Jones, 1819 to 1825 ; 
John H. Sublett, 1819 to 1826; Samuel Stites, 1819 to 1826, 1834 
1843 ; James H. Lyne, 1820 to 1831 ; George Morris, 1824, '25^ 
'26; William D.Allison, 1826 to 1833 ; John W. Moseley, 1826; 
George Atkinson, 1827 to 1835; Wyatt H. Ingram, 1827, '28; John 
Spiedel, 1827 ; George Gayle, 1828, '29; James Rouse, 1828 to 1838 ; 
1837 to 1847 ; Thomas Johnson, 1830, '31, 1843, '44, '45 ; Joseph 
Cowan, 1832, '33, '34, '35 ; Edmund H. Hopkins, 1832, 1838 to 1848 ; 
John D. Anderson, 1833 to 1845 ; Archibald Dixon, 1835 to 1844 ; 
James W. Marshall, 1835, '36, '37; William Vermilyer, 1835; Hugh 
Kerr, 1835 ; James E. Rankin, 1835, 1846, "47 ; James Alves, 1835 ; 
Alexander B. Barret, 1837, 1842 ; William P. Smith, 1838, '39 ; F. 
Cunningham, 1838 to '45; L. G. Taylor, 1839, '40, to '41 ; James 
Carroll, 1840 ; Lazarus W. Powell, 1840, '41, '46, '47 ; Y. E. Allison, 
1841, '46, '47 ; William R. Abbott, 1841, '42 ; William J. Ross, 1841, 
'42 ; Thomas Towles, Jr., 1841, 42 ; D. R. Burbank, 1841, '42 ; Wil- 
liam L. Stone, 1842, '45 ; William Quinn, 1842 ; Littleberry Weaver, 


1842, '48 ; David H. Cowan, 1842 to 1847 ; John H. Lambert, 1842, 
'43, '47 ; James Wilson, 1843 ; Philo H. Hillyer, 1843 '44, '45, '46; 
William H. Cunningham, 1845 ;^Nathaniel D. Terry, 1846, '47 ; Brent 
Hopkins, 1846; Edward D. McBride, 1846, '47; George W. Johnson, 
1847 ; William B. Vandzandt, 1847 ; Samuel W. Langley, 1847 ; Rob- 
ert G. Beverley, 1847 ; David Banks, 1849 ; Philip L. Johnston, 1849; 
Walter A. Brown, 1849 ; Andrew Mackey, 1849 ; C. M. Pennell, 1850 ; 
John McBride, 1851, '52; William T. Barret, 1851; David Clark, 
1851 ; William S. Holloway, 1851 ; Geo. M. Priest, 1851 ; James Ba 
con, 1851 ; James Carroll, 1852 ; Peter Semonin, 1853; James Wilson, 
1852; D. N. Walden, 1853; Thomas J. Johnson, 1853; William 
Brewster, 1853; James Carroll, 1853; W. B. Vandzandt, 1853; 
Francis Millet, 1853. 


James W. Clay, 1854; George M. Priest, 1854; Jacob Fulwiler, 
1854, '55, '56, '57 • John H . Lambert, 1854, '55, '59 ; B. Brashear, 
1854, '55, '56, '57; D. H. Unselt, 1854; William S. Holloway, 1854, 
'55, '62, '69, '70; P. H. Hillyer, 1854, '57, '58, '62, '63 ; James Bacon, 

1854, '55 ; R. G. Beverley, 1854, '55, '56, '57, '58, '59, '60, '61, '62 ; 
Robert G. Rouse, 1854, '55 ; P. B. Matthews, 1855, '56, '57, '60, '61, 
'62; John Rudy, 1855, '56; B. R. Cu rry, 18 55, '56; C. W. Hutchen, 

1855, '56; Walter A. Towles, 185f; William P. Grayson, 1856; 
William Steele, 1856; William Brewster, 1856 ; Andrew Mackey, 
1856 ; E. G. Hall, 1857, '58, '59 ; Sam'l P. Spalding, 1857, '58 ; 
John McBride, 1857, '58; Richard Garland, 1858, '61; Sol. S. Size- 
more, 1858, '59 ; F. W. Reutlinger, 1858, '59, '68, '69 ; William E. 
Lambert, 1858, '59 ; L. F. Jones, 1858, '59, '60, '61 ; W, W. Catlin, 
1859; A. H. Talbott, 1860, '61' '66, '67, '68; F. Millet, 1860, '61 ; J. 
Adams, 1861, '62, 'QG, '67, '71, '72; W. H. Ladd, 1860, '61, '62, '64, '65 . 
R. M. Allin, 1861; F. B. Cromwell, 1862; W. H. Sandefur, 1862,' 
1876, '77, 78, '79, '80, '81 ; J. C. Allin, 1862, '68 ; Jacob Reutlinger, 
1862, '63 ; Peter Semonin, 1862 ; Jacob Held, 1862, '63, '64, '65, 
'66; Henry R. Tunstall, 1862, '63, '64, 65, '66, '67, '68; Ben M. 
Sandefur, 1863 ; Jacob F. Mayor, 1863; A. S. Nunn, 1864, '65, 'm, 
'67, '68, '69, '70, '71 ; David Hart, 1864, '65 ; T. M. Jenkins, 1864, 
'65, '66, '67 ; D. N Wilden, 1865 ; Grant Green, 1865, '66 ; E. L. 
Starling, 1866, '67, '68, '75, '76 ; David Banks, 1867, '68, '71 ; Thos. 
S. Knight, 1867, '68 ; Jacob Reutlinger, 1867 ; K. Geibel, Jr., 1867, 
'68, '69, '70, '71, '72; P. H. King, 1868, '69, "70, '71, '72, '73, '74; M. 
Yeaman, 1868, '69; A. B. Weaver, 1868, '69 ; J. E. Fagan, 1868, '69, 
'70, '71 ; L. Martin, 1868, '69; Thomas L. Norris, 1869, '70; John 


C. Atkinson, 1869, 70, 71 ; John C. Stapp, 1869, 70, 71, 72, 73 
N. H. Barnard, 1870, 71, 72. 73; Robert Dixon, 1871, 72; W. S 
Johnson, 1871 72, 73 ; J. Ed. Rankin, 1872, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78 
E. W. Worsham, 1872, 73; L. C. Dallam, 1872, 73; James R. Bar 
ret, 1873; Jacob Peter, 1873, 74; F. H. Overton, 1874,75,76,77 
W. B. Woodruff, 1874, 75, 76; H. C. Elliot, 1874, 75; John 
O'Byrne, 1874, 75 ; F. Kleiderer, 1874, 75, 76, 78, 79, '80 ; Henry 
C. Kerr, 1874, 75; Martin Schlamp, 1875, 76, 77, 78, 79, '80, 81 ; 
James H. McCulJagh, 1875, 76; John McBride, 1875, '76; Jacob 
Held, 1876 ; J. O. Clore, 1876, '77, '78, '79, '80, '81 ; R. C. Soaper, 
1876, '77, '78 ; G. A. Prentice, 1876, '77 ; S. A. Lambert, 1876, '77, 
78 ; John H. Barret, 1876, '77 ; S S. Sizemore, 1876, '77 ; W. H. 
Unverzaght, 1878, '79, '80, '81, '83 ; George H. Steele, 1878, '79, '80, 
'81, '82, '83 ; F. E. Kreipke, 1878, 79, '80, '81, '82, '83 ; William H. 
Lewis, 1878, '79, 80, '81, '82, '83 ; John P. Beverley, 1880, '81 ; 
Perry Robinson, 1880, '81 ; John Thomasson, 1881, '82, '83 ; R. E. 
Cook, 1881 ; Henry Katterjohn, 1881, '82, '83 ; P. P. Johnson, 1882, 
'83, '84, '85, '86, '87 ; A. S. Winstead, 1882, '83, 84, '85, '86 ; James 
E. Rankin, 1882, '83; Richard Stites, 1883; Phelps Sasseen, 1883, 
'84, '85, '86, '87 ; James Williamson, 1883, '84, '85, '86, '87 ; Edward 
Manion, 1883, '84, '85, '86, '87 ; M. M. Kimmel, 1886, '87 ; Alex. 
Fenwick, 1886, '87 ; Frank Sugg, 1886, '87 ; J. G. Adams, 1886, '87. 


John H. Sublett, 1823 ; Samuel Stites, 1824 ; N. F. Ruggles, 
1826 to 1835 ; John D. Anderson, 1834, '37, '45; James W. Marshall, 
1835, '36 ; Edmund H. Hopkins, 1838 to 1845 ; William R. Abbott, 
1842 ; James Rouse, 1846 ; L. W. Powell, 1847 ; Archibald Dixon, 
1848; David Bants, 1849, '50 ; Thomas J. Johnson, 1851, '52, '53. 


W. B. Vandzandt, 1854 ; M. S. Hancock, 1854, '55, '56, '57, '58, 
'59; E. G. Hall, 1860, '61, '62; D. Banks, 1862, '63, '64, '65; P. B. 
Matthews; 1866, '67, '68; E. L. Starling, 1868, '69, '70, '71, '72, '73, 
74; Jacob Held, 1874, '75; John C. Atkinson, 1875, '76, '77, '78, 
'79 ; F. M. English ; 1879, '80, '81 ; Jac Peter, 1881, '82, '83 ; C. C. 
Ball, 1883, '84, '85, '86, '87. 


N. F. Ruggles, 1819 to 1834; Samuel Stites, 1834; James W. 
Marshall, 1835, '36, '37; William P. Smith, 1838, '39; Henry Delano, 
1840 to 1847; Philo H. Hillyer, 1847, '48, '49, '50, '51, '52, '53 ; 
Henry Lyne, 1854, '55, '56, '67; Andrew Clark, 1857, '58, '59, '60, 


'61, 62 ; James iL. Ricketts, 1862, '63 ; F. W. Reutlinger, 1862, '63, 
'64, '65, '66, '67; Grant Green, 1867, '68; S. K. Sneed, 1868, '69, 
'70, '71, '72, '73 ; B. C. Ailin, 1874, '75 ; C. T. Starling, 1875 to 1887 


William H. Thomas, 1819 to 1824; William D. Allison, 1824 to 
1852; Y. E. Allison, 1852, '53, '54, '55, '56, '57, '58, '59; F. W. Reut- 
linger, 1860, '61, '62, '63, '64, '65, '66; E. M, Clark, 1867; W. H. 
Ross, 1868, '69 ; C. Bailey, 1870 ; Henry Pyne, 1870, '71 ; A. S. 

Nunn, 1872, '73, '74, '75, '76, '77, '78' '79 ; David Hart, 1880, '81, '82, 
'83 ; J. B. Johnson, 1883, '84, '85, '86, '87. 


John Green, 1822; James Rouse, 1823, '28, 29; Joel Lambert, 
1824 to 1828; Thomas P. Lambert, 1830, '31, '32; James H. Green, 
1833; William R. Abbott, 1834; W. F. Quinn, 1835; Robert G. 
Rouse, 1836, '37, '38, '39, '40, '45, '50, '52, 53 ; Joseph D. Gobin, 
1841, '42, '44, '45, '49; Y. E. Allison, 1843, '47; Samuel W. 
Langley, 1846 ; John C. Stapp, 1848, '49, '50; Eli J. Melton, 1851 ; 
B. M. Clay, 1851; Charles G. Boardman, 1852; Solomon Nesler, 
1854, '55; N. P. Green, 1856, '57, '58, '59; W. W. Catlin, 1860, 
'61, '62, '63, '64; R. G. Rouse, Jr., 1864, '65, '66, '67; George 
Gayle, 1868, '69, '70, '71; B. M. Winston, 1872; Jake Held, 
1872, '73, '74, '75; S. A. Young, 1875, '76, '77, '78, '79 ; Edward At- 
kinson, 1879, '80, '81 ; Peter Yaney, Collector, 1881, '82, '83, '84, '85, 
'86, '87; James H. , Priest, Marshal, 1881, '82, '83; Joe A. Rudy, 
1883, '84, '85, '86; John Kriel, 1886, '87. 


N. F. Ruggles, 1824 to 1834; William Hart, 1834 to 1838; John 
Shingler, 1838 ; William P. Smith, 1839 ; Jacob Fulwiler, 1840; John . 
B. Burk, 1841, '42, '44, '58, '59, '61, '62; Joseph Grant, 1841, '42; 
James Perrot, 1843 ; Robert G. Rouse, 1843, '44, '45, '49, '53, '54, 
'55; James F. Clay, 1840; William F. Quinn, 1847; John C. Stapp, 
1848; William E. Lambert, 1850, '51; Charles G. Boardman, 1852; 
W. W. Catlin, 1856, '57; Samuel W. Black, 1860, '61 ; John H. Morris, 
1863; M. P. Rucker, 1863, '64; W. W. Huston, 1865, '66; Paul J. 
Marrs, 1867 to 1882, inclusive; William H. Ladd, 1872, '73; Frank 
Deschamp, 1882 to 1887, inclusive. 


William H. Thomas, 1822, '23 ; Daniel McBride, 1824 to 1829, 
2, '33; William D. Allison, 1830, '31; James Rouse, 1834, '36, '50 


William F. Quinn, 1835, '60, '64, '65; William S. Holloway, 1837; 
Thomas Towles, Jr., 1838, '39 ; Joseph D. Gobin, 1840, '41 ; H. E. 
Rouse, 1842, '66, '67; Y. E. Allison, 1843, '44, '46, '47, '48, '49, '50, 
'52, '53, '54; William L. Stone, 1845; Littleberry Weaver, 1851, '52 ; 
T. J. Hopkins, 1855, '56 ; J. O. Cheaney, 1856, '57, '58, '59 ; R. B. 
Cabell, 1861, '62, '68, '69; A. L. Jones, 1863; Thomas F. Cheaney, 
1870, '71, '72, '73, '74, '76, '77, '78, '81, '82 ; E. R. Moore, 1875 ; B. 
Brashear, 1879, '80 ; Charles G. Henson, 1883; A. F. Kenneday, 
1883, '84, '85, '86 ; Stephen P. Smith, 1887. 


T. M. Jenkins, 1867 to 1882; William Cannings, 1882 to 1887, 


Hughes & Dallam, 1853, '54, '55, '56; John T. Bunch, 1857; 
Crockett & Vance, 1858, '59; John W. Crockett, 1860, 61 ; S. B. 
Vance, 1862, '63, '64, '65, '66; Turner & Trafton, 1866, '67, '68, '69, 
'70, '74; Charles Eaves, 1870, '71, '72; M. Yeaman, 1873, 74, '75, 
'76, '77, '78 ; James F. Clay, 1879, '80, '81, '82; A. T. Dudley, 1883; 
S. S. Sizemore, 1884, '85, '86; John L. Dorsey, 1887. 


Worden P. Churchill, 1854, '55; P. H. Lockett, 1856; H. C. 
Bard, 1856; W. R. Kinney, 1857; J. Willie Rice, 1858, '59; C. W. 
Hutchen, 1860, '61 ; P. A. Blackwell, 1861, '62; P. H. Hillyer, 
1863, '64, '65, '66; A. T. Dudley, 1866, '67, '72, '73, '74. 75 ; E. M. 
Clark, 1868, '69, '70, '71; R. H. Cunningham, 1876, '77, '78, '79; 
G. C. Averitt, 1880, '81, '82, '83 ; Ezra C. Ward, 1884 to 1887, in 


Charles L. Woods, 1874, '75; A. M. Tutt, 1875, '76; T. M. 
Jenkins, 1877, 78, '79; William Cannings, 1880 to 1887, inclusive. 


Samuel Fox, 1866, '67 ; P. G. Valentine, 1868, '69, '70, 71 ; J. 
D, Collins, 1872, '73; J. L. Cook, 1873; Ben Letcher, 1874, '76; 
Ben & James Letcher, 1875 ; John B. Cook, 1877 ; A. Dixon, 1878 ; 
Ben Letcher, 1879; Ben & James H. Letcher, 1880; Ben and James 
H. Letcher, 1881 ; Arch. Dixon, 1882, '83; B. R. Helms, 1884, '85, 
'86 ; J. C. Smith, 1887. 


Thomas Allen, 1797; John Green, 1824; D. N. Walden, 1853, 
'54, '57. Henrv J. Eastin, 1855, '56; James D. Saunders, 1858, '59, 
'60; J. J, Kriss, 1861 ; F. H. Crosby, 1866, '67, '68; Crosby & Be- 
bee, 1869; G. M. Alves, 1870, '71, '72, 73, '74, '75. 


Charles W. Quinn, 1886; John Haffey, 1887. 



^Z! HIS precinct is bounded by the Corydon, Hende'rson and Ro- 
^-^ bards Station Precincts and Webster County. For many years, 
from the earliest times of voting, the voters living in all that territory, 
with Green River to a point far beyond Petersburg, Webster County, 
including all of the precinct of Cairo, voted at Petersburg and John 
Harvey's, living at the junction of the Henderson and Madisonville, 
and the Smiths', afterwards McFadden's ferry roads. Years after- 
wards the voting place was changed from Harvey's to Isom Seller's, 
and here the elections were held until a growing population clamored 
for a change, which was made from Seller's to David Sights'. Here 
the elections were held for a number of years, when the voting place 
was changed to William Sutton's. In 1851, after the new constitu- 
tion having been adopted, and the population having greatly increased, 
two voting places were established, one at Randall Osburn's, the other 
at Corydon. 

In 1851 Cairo Precinct was established and the town of Cairo 
made the voting place. Among the earliest settlers of this part of 
Henderson County were John Leeper, the slayer of Big Harpe, 
Jacob Newman, John Christian, James Worthington, Abraham Saun- 
ders, Rowland Hughes, Joseph Worthington, William Black, Sher- 
wood Hicks, Nevil Lindsay, John McCombs, John Lock, William 
Hughes, David Hughes, Eneas McCallister, John Luttels, John and 
Martin Kates, Joel Sugg, Andrew Black, Andrew Agnew and Mica- 
jah Hancock. These early settlers cleared the country, opened the 
first roads, built the first churches and school houses, and reduced 


the wild woods from a state of semi-barbarism to green fields and 
woodlands, dedicated to the culture of fine crops of cereals, tobacco, 
and the raising of horses, cattle, sheep and swine. Educational facil- 
ities in those early times were provided, and the boy or girl who could 
learn so much as the multiplication table and to spell, was fortunate 
indeed. A large majority of the second and the third generations 
grew up in almost absolute ignorance. It is a well known fact that 
where positive illiteracy controls the populace, there too is to be 
found riotous living, debauchery and vice in all its multiplied phases. 
Ignorance pays no homage to law, save only so much as is com- 
pelled from a natural fear existing in the brute as well as the human. 
Owing to this state of ignorance a greater part of the population in- 
dulged their time in horse racing on the Sabbath particularly, but any 
other day when the boys could be notified to come forward with the 
necessery shekels. 

Rowdyism reigned supreme, drinking, debauchery and fist mills 
occupied the chief attention of this large class, and, altogether, it was 
a most lamentable state of affairs, but between 1807 and 1812 Salem 
Church was built near Sellers, and during the week a school taught 
in the building. This pioneer building was ot course a small log af- 
fair with puncheon seats and no desks or tables, yet it was sufficient 
for all purposes at the time. It was owned and used by what is 
known as the Regular Baptist, a minature congregation at that early 
date, and was presided over by Rev. John Street, a man of ordinary 
religious training, but an earnest worker in the faith. He was suc- 
ceeded by Rev. John Dorris, a preacher of considerable power, but 
sadlv deficient in education. Rev. John Grantham preached for a 
time for this little congregation also. In those days settlements were 
few and very far between, therefore it was no unusual occurrence for 
members, both male and female, to ride fifteen, twenty and even 
twenty-five miles to preaching. It was a general rendezvous on Sun- 
day for the young enthusiasts and lovers, and thus became the means 
of doing greater good than was expected in the beginning. Great 
revivals were held and numbers of those whose lives had been de- 
voted to the sins of the world united with the Church and became 
active in securing others to do likewise. During the time a school 
was taught by Rev. John Street, afterwards by William Frazier. The 
children for miles around attended as best they could, most of them 
being necessarily compelled from the scarcity of horses and limited 
means of their parents, to walk day after day through by-paths for 
miles in search of knowledge denied their parents. 


The country at this time was alive with wolves, yet they con- 
fined themselves mostly to those woods unfrequented by the traveler. 
The trials and dangers incident to that time, may be appreciated by 
the young of this day when ^ey remember that little children, 
wholly unable to offer resistence, flocked along wood paths with 
nothing but the rustling of leaves and the chirps of birds to cheer 
their lonely way. Seeking an education was accompanied by fears 
and trials at every turn of the paths, j^et they braved all dangers and 
searched that precious prize, a primary training, which eventuated in 
bringing the country from a wild horse racing, gambling, drinking set 
of ignorant hoodlums to a community of God-fearing, honest, laborous 
people. Salem Church, Salem school and the influence of Christian men 
and women gradually moralized the country until its rapid growth 
brought other blessings. Neighborhood roads were opened, more 
schools were taught, land was gradually cleared up, houses were built, 
law respected and thus the people became more thrifty and more in- 

Eighteen hundred and eighty-three dawned upon this precinct 
populated by a people noted for honesty of purpose, moral training, 
hospitality, social culture, laborious living, and, in fact, all the charac- 
teristics of worth to be possessed by any similar body of people in 
the country at large. Most of the lands lying in this precinct are 
rolling lands, some low lands. While there are some poor lands in 
the precinct, yet it is a fact that the larger part of it is rich and very 
productive. The principal products are corn, wheat and tobacco. 
A great part of this precinct is yet heavily timbered, all of the forest 
growth congenial to this climate is to be found in great abundance, 
including the oak, hickory, ask, elm, gum, poplar and walnut. 

The tenth United States census gives this precinct a population 
of sixteen hundred souls, but the estimated population at this time, 
from what may be considered accurate, gives it twenty-five hundred. 
The Baptist still have a church where old Salem stood and the Meth- 
odist have a church at Union Hill. 


The town of Cairo is located in the southwest part of Hender- 
son County, eleven miles from the City of Henderson, and seven 
miles west from Robards Station on the Henderson & Nashville 
branch of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad. The first person 
known to have settled in business upon the ground where the town is 
located, was William H. Hancock, who established a blacksmith shop 
for the convenience of the surrounding country. Albert G. Walker 


settled a few years afterwards, and when, in 1848, a mail and stage 
line was established between Henderson and Hopkinsville, Mr. 
Walker was appointed first postmaster. The town or station at that 
time had no name, and in order that the office might have a desig- 
nated appellation by which it should be known at Washington, as 
well as throughout the delivery offices of the country, Mr. Walker 
sent in a name which the government declined to ratify, from the fact 
the same was on another post route in the State of Kentucky. Mr. 
Walker then sent on the name of Cairo, which was ratified by the 
Postoffice Department. 

The tenth census gives Cairo a population of one hundred and 
seven, but at this time the town has an estimated population of three 

In 1873 the town was incorporated, and under the act Isom Cot- 
tingham, John McMullin, Albert A. Niles, Dr. W. B. Floyd, U. N. 
Swope and A. Kohl appointed trustees. The boundaries of the town 
were described, the election of trustees regulated, that is to say, 
the act directs the election of six trustees in the month of May an- 
nually, who are to serve one term of twelve months or until their 
successors qualify. These Trustees must select one of their own 
number who shall be permanent chairman of the Board. Power is 
given the Trustees to enact ordinances and all needful laws and reg- 
ulations for the government of the town and to annex fines for their 
violations not exceeding magisterial jurisdiction, power to levy and 
collect taxes, etc. 

The act of incorporation was amended February 4th, 1874, ex- 
tending the power of the Trustees. Under this amendment all 
males over the age of sixteen and under fifty years of age, who pay 
into the town treasury the sum of two dollars, are exempt from pay- 
ing poll-tax for road purposes. 

The town of Cairo has one church building, the property of the 
Cumberland Presbyterian denomination. The building is used also 
by the Methodist congregation. There is also within the town limits 
one district white and one district colored school. 


Wm. T. Cottingham handles annnually from 100 to 150 hogs- 
heads strips and leaf. 

Wm. E. Royster handles annually from 125 to 150 hogsheads 
strips and leaf. 

Nick & Thomas Royster handles annually from 100 to 150 hogs- 
heads strips and leaf. 


Joseph A. Quinn handles annually from 100 to 150 hogsheads 
strips and leaf. 

J. A. Fisher & Son handles annually from 40 to 75 hogsheads 
strips and leaf. . -*" 

David W. Denton (Rock Spring) handles annually from 50 to 75 
hogsheads strips and leaf. 

The stemmeries employ during the stemming season from fifteen 
to twenty hands each. 

George W. Kimball owns and operates a flour and grist mill, 
capacity of two hundred bushels of fiour and meal per day. 

Among the oldest inhabitants now living are Martm Galloway, 
John W. Royster, Samuel Alderson, P. G. Sights, Dr. W. B. Floyd. 

N. B. — Since the foregoing was written Cairo has had a big fire 
and safe robbery. Business has materially increased and many 
changes have taken place. It was near Cairo that Dr. W. T. Sutton 
killed young Alderson, for which offense he was cleared by a jury of 
the court. 


This precinct was established on the 20th day December, 1851, 
and a voting place appointed at a house built upon the ground now 
within the limits of the beautiful little town of Corydon. The pre- 
cinct at that time was a wilderness of wild woods, inhabited by droves 
of wolves and other wild animals known to Kentucky for many years 
anterior to that date. 

It is true there were a number of settlers, yet their places of 
habitation were so remote, neighbors seldom visited and seldom saw 
each other. The mode of traveling was extremely irksome and sub- 
jected to pioneer dangers. Corydon at that time was known only as 
a " woods settlement " of perhaps two or three log cabins. 

The aged and respected Dr. John N. Dorsey settled in 1848 
where the town of Corydon is now situated, and built the first cabin, 
a little log hut of a concern, in the forest upon the hill now orna- 
mented by the handsome residence of Charles L. King. 

In 1850 or '51, William L. Dorsey, a brother of Dr. Dorsey, laid 
off a few lots, using a grapevine for measuring distances. Some of 
them he sold for five dollars per lot, others for a less amount. Land 
at that time was valued from four to five dollars per acre. Dr. Dorsey, 
in 1868 and '69, purchased land for four dollars and fifty cents per 


acre, the identical ground upon which the town of Corydon is now- 

A weekly mail was established and brought on foot or horseback 
by some of the settlers from the Point, now Smith's Mills. Dr. J. N. 
Dorsey was the first postmaster, and when, some years after, finding 
further service incompatible with his large and growing practice, gave 
up the position. A box was then fixed in the middle of the village, 
where the mail was deposited. 

Mrs. Dorsey suggested the name of Corydon and that name was 
adopted by the settlers. Dr. J. N. and William L. Dorsey established 
the first store at Corydon. The first school was taught by Baxter 
Cheatham, the great talker, at a place two miles in the direction of 
Smith's Mills. Another school was taught at the Rock Spring. The 
first church was built in 1820 at a point opposite and near the resi- 
dence of Mrs. Norwood. It was a Baptist church. Rev. McMahon 
occasionally preached, as did Methodist circuit riders 

W. B. Pentecost built the first tobacco stemmery at Corydon in 
1853. The first church was erected in 1853 by the Christian de- 

The greater part of the lands in this precinct are very fertile and 
productive. The principal crops consist of tobacco, corn and wheat. 
The farmers, as a general rule, are thrifty, intelligent, industrious and 
well to do. The raising of beef cattle has become one of the aims of 
many farmers in this precinct, and no better lands for grazing pur- 
poses are to be found in the county. 

There is no prettier territory to be found in Kentucky than that 
lying between Corydon and Smith's Mills. The average value per 
acre of lands in this precinct is now from twenty-five to thirty dollars. 

The town of Cor3'don is located upon two gently sloping hills, 
and is second in population and commercial importance to Hender- 
son The population of the Corydon Magisterial District, including 
the town as given in the Tenth United States Census, was 2,789. 
Population of the town, 544. Since that time the population has ma- 
terially increased. There are a number of handsome and comfortable 
houses in Corydon. So there are a number of manufacturing and 
mercantile enterprises. 

On the tenth day of March, 1884, Corydon was visited by a fire 
that swept away a dozen business and dwelling houses. This natur 
ally, of course, cast a gloom over the good people, but they soon 
rallied and rebuilt their burned property. Business revived and all 
was bright for the time. 


The Ohio Valley Railroad was built to and beyond the town, a 
better and cheaper outlet was furnished, telephone and telegraph 
offices were established, a daily ^ail soon became another blessing, 
and the future of Corydon seemed bright indeed. But the fire fiend 
had not yet completed its wicked work ; it seemed that the town was 
doomed beyond peradventure, for on the ninth day of April, 1887, early 
in the morning when all were asleep, a fire broke out and before it 
could be checked sixteen stores and other buildings had succumbed 
to its merciless temper. This then was a most terrible calamity, and 
in every way calculated to demoralize the community, but it did not. 
Those who were the sufferers took renewed courage and determined 
to rebuild. There are now seven new houses in course of building 
and many more to follow so soon as building material can be had. 
Instead, then, of the fire being a curse, it has proven a blessing in 
bringing about the building of better houses and destroying traps that 
are always and at all times dangerous. 

In the town of Corydon there are four white churches, to-vvit : 
Christian, Baptist, Presbyterian and Methodist, with large, intelligent 
congregations. There is a coal mine — supplying the town and sur- 
rounding country — which costs its stockholders $9,000 ; one planing 
mill ; one large flouring mill supplied with the latest and most im- 
proved machinery and capacity of one hundred barrels per day ; eight 
firms engaged in merchandising and three tobacco stemmeries of large 
handling capacity. In addition to the churches before mentioned, 
there are also three colored places of religious worship. 

In addition to all that has been said, Corydon glories in the pos- 
session of one of the best graded public schools to be found in the 
State. To the enterprise, good taste and liberality of that people, 
(and praised be their names), the youth, not only of the precinct but 
of the county, are offered and given a first-class High School educa- 
tion at a very moderate expenditure. All of the branches studied in 
ordinary colleges are taught in this school, except the Greek language. 
The act of the Legislature, creating this school was passed on the 
25th day of March, 1872, Wm. H. Hancock, John R. Wilson, Green 
W. Pritchett, Dr. John N. Dorsey, Charles L. King, Dr. James N. 
Powell, Dr. H. S. Jones and George W. McClure, incorporators. 

This also directed a district vote to be taken, and the levying 
and collecting of a tax of sixty cents upon the one hundred dollars' 
valuation, and a poll tax of six dollars. The election was held and 
the proposition carried by a handsome vote. The bonds, one hun- 
dred in number of one thousand dollars each, were issued and quickly 


disposed of at a premium in Corydon and Henderson. The original 
bonds bore 10 per cent, intereest, but since that time have been re- 
deemed at a lower rate. 

As soon after the sale of the bonds as possible, a magnificent 
two-story brick building was commenced at a cost of ten thousand 
dollars. This building was completed and occupied for the first time 
on September 1st, 1873. There were five teachers, 1st primary, 2d 
primary, intermediate, preparatory and high school. There was a 
board of eight trustees, which, at the time this sketch was written, 
was composed of the following named : John A. Stapp, Hon. Jos. V. 
Owen, Green W. Pritchett, Charles L. King, E. G. Powell, J. T. 
Head, H. H. Lawrence and John R. Wilson. Professor William 
Johnson, of Cincinnati, was the first superintendent. The first year 
the number of pupils enrolled aggregated 325 to 340 ; average daily 
attendance 230. There were fifteen or more non-resident pupils and 
from this source alone the school has annually received a benefit of 
siy or seven hundred dollars. The salaries were fixed at from ?30 to 
$45 per month for teachers, superintendent $90 per month. This 
school has invariably employed the best instructors and has graduated 
some of the brightest minds in the county. The location is healthy 
and never has the school been demoralized by sickness or trouble by 
the taxpayers. 

Corydon is located in a fine section of country, and with such 
public spirit and liberality as characterizes the citizens must eventually 
come to the front in commercial importance. There is no community 
to be found anywhere possessing a greater share of social culture and 
broad and liberal intelligence. 

Corydon was incorporated many years ago and has a police judge, 
marshal, police, &c. Among the early settlers of this precinct were : 
Dr. J. N. and Wm. L. Dorsey, John R. Wilson, William J. Powell, 
Baxter D. Cheatham, James Powell, Berry Gibson, Pressley Pritchett, 
Jack Pritchett and Albert Jones. Among the oldest now living are : 
Dr. J, N. Dorsey, Green W. Pritchett, Jno. R. Wilson, Thomas Ash, 
Herbert A. Powell, W, B. Pentecost and Jno. Trigg. 


Prior to 1880, the voters of this precinct, in order to exercise 
the right of elective franchise, were compelled to go either to Smith's 
Mills, Corydon or Henderson. The distance was an uncomfortable 
and fatiguing one. It was so with their court matters, and in order 


to remedy this, a petition, largel}' signed, was presented to the Court, 
and upon its hearing, on the 24th day of May, 1880, a precinct was 
established with two magistrates. This precinct was formed from 
portions of Smith's Mills Corydon and Henderson, and Geneva made 
the voting place. Originally Geneva was known as " Walker's," then 
the " Cross Roads," and is situated at the crossing of the Henderson 
and Smith's Mills, and Diamond Island and Corydon roads. The 
precinct lands are generally level and of a fine producing quality. 
The farmers are thrifty and intelligent. Diamond Island bend is in- 
cluded in this precinct, and for the production of corn and tobacco 
no better land is to be found in the county. It is in this bend where 
sportsmen find the greatest pleasure in the fall, winter and spring 
months, duck and goose shooting. There are a great number of 
sloughs and ponds, and with the coming of cold weather these are 
literally taken possession of by wild ducks and geese. The village of 
Geneva consists of a postoffice, four or five stores, a blacksmith shop, 
a grist mill, and several Mr. J. T. Sandefur, one of the 
most successful and intelligent raisers and handlers of bees, has his 
apiary near Geneva, where he collects annually a large amount of 

On the twenty-fourth day of September, 1864, a company of ne- 
gro soldiers, returning from a recruiting (or negro stealing) expedition 
to Corydon, passed through Geneva, and while there discovered that 
one of the men was afflicted with the small pox. They determined 
to leave him, and did leave him, only to meet the savage vengeance 
of a party of rebels close on their heels. This unfortunate soldier 
was captured and taken to a woods near by and there hung and left 
dead. The sequel to this hanging will be found in the brutal murder 
of young Wathen, of Union County, published in the history of the 

Among the oldest inhabitants of this precinct are Captain E. D. 
McBride, J. T. Sandefur, Walter A. Towles, John Farmer and W. A. 


This precinct was formed on the twentieth day of December, 1851, 
with voting place at Hebardsville. It borders on Green River, and 
consequently the greater portion of the precinct is hilly. Very many 
of the finest tobacco and corn farms to be found in the county are 
located in this precinct. In addition to this, fruit can be more suc- 
cessfully grown on the hills adjacent to Green River than elsewhere 


in the county. There is an abundance of the finest timber known to 
this country. The tenth United States census gives this precinct a 
population of 2,280. 

The early history, as written of other precincts, apply to this. 
Early settlers had the same embarrassments and difficulties to con- 
tend with, although the first road established in the county ran 
through this precinct. Mr. Craven Boswell, was one of the earliest 
settlers, and at one time owned pretty much all the land adjoining 
and adjacent to the town of Hebardsville. A great portion of this 
land he donated to others in order to induce immigration and build 
up the country. The town of Hebardsville was named for Mr. 
Charles Hebard, who in very early times opened and carried on a 
blacksmith shop at that point. One of the first grist and saw mills 
known in the county was built in this precinct and operated by 
George McCormick. This mill was an undershot concern, located 
on Lick Creek, and built in 1808 or 1809. The lumber used in 
building the old Johnson House, in the town of Henderson, was 
sawed at this mill in 1809. In 1830 Mr. McCormick sold the mill to 
Philip Vanbussum, who operated it a few years and sold to Richard 
Hazelwood. In 1848 or 1849 Mr. Boswell, after having disposed of 
a quantity of his lands, died, leaving six children, only two of whom 
are now living, William, and Mrs. Catharine McFarland. 

Hebardsville is the leading village or town in the precinct, and 
as a commercial point offers many inducements. It is surrounded by 
a magnificent tobacco and corn territory and a thrifty, well to do pop- 
ulation of planters. Hebardsville has a number of merchants and 
business men, all of whom are accumulating slowly but surely. C. 
W. Johnson, R. S. Hart, Boswell Bros., George Willingham, George 
Reed, John Abb Johnston, Saunders Biggs, Joe Robertson, Oliver 
and Jack Malone, are among the number of merchants; George Neg- 
ley operates a coal bank one and a half miles from Hebardsville and 
supplies the entire country surrounding with coal of the best quality. 
There are three churches at and near Hebardsville, the Cumberland 
Presbyterian, Baptist (Bethel) and Methodist. The Cumberland and 
Baptist are among the oldest known to the county. James Carroll 
operates a saw mill and turns out the best lumber for building pur- 
poses. There is one district school presided over by a competent 
teacher. Bluff City, a few miles below on Green River, is also in 
this precinct. It has a post office, saw mill and store. It is prettily 
located and ought to become a fine shipping point. Among the 
early settlers of Hebardsville were Craven Boswell, Charles Hebard, 


Turner Denton, Benjamin L. Hicks, Samuel Pirtle, Caleb Hall, Ed- 
ward D. Bennett, Robert McFarland and John B. Davis. Among 
the oldest inhabitants now living"mre Benjamin L. Hicks, Rev. Abram 
Hatchett, William Boswell, Arthur Hicks, Richard Roach, Wash. But- 
ler, James Willingham, Stark Haynes, and others. Hebardsville, and 
the precinct bearing its name, is peopled by a law-abiding, intelligent 
class of citizens. The society in and around the town, in a social 
sense, is fully up with the times, well educated, intelligent and hos- 
pitable. At Mason's Landing, on Green River, Thomas Hust has a 
stemmery, where annually he purchases and handles the great bulk 
of the tobacco grown in that portion of the precinct. It was in this 
precinct, and near Hebardsville, that Colonels Adam Johnson and 
Bob Martin, during the war, 1863 or 1864, captured Dr. Kimbly, of 
Owensboro, while en route behind a dashing team to Henderson. Miss 
Shelby, now Mrs. John Folden, was in the buggy with the doctor at 
the time. Colonel Martin relieved the doctor of the reins and saw 
her safely to her uncle, John McCormick, while Colonel Johnson 
took charge of the prisoner. About the same place and time old 
man Solomon Oberdorfer, so well known throughout this county, was 
arrested, together with a drove of mules which he was taking to Evans- 
ville for Government purposes. He was taken to Slaughtersville and 
there released and given his mules. The guerrillas made frequent 
raids into Hebardsville and were a source of great annoyance to the 
resident business interest. There was an incident in the life of 
Thomas McFarland, who lived in this precinct, three miles from Heb- 
ardsville, in the direction of Henderson, unsurpassed by any of the 
recollections of that bloody period. 

In July, 1862, he and his old maid sister, who had lived together 
since the birth of the younger, and were yet fighting life's battles as 
brother and sister, side by side, on the old homestead, were awakened 
in the dead hour of the night by a call at the gate, only a few feet from 
the house. It was a beautiful night, the moon was shining in all of 
its glory, its shimmering, silvery rays making gloriously bright the 
whole face of the earth. Closely and snugly slept the subject of this 
sketch in one room of the log building, while his sister slept in the 
other, just across the hall. Twelve well armed and determined men 
had now surrounded the house, watching every approach and awaiting 
the command of their leader. McFarland lay unconscious of his 
terrible surroundings, while his sister, who had awakened at the first 
call, and was arising to know what was wanted, little thought of the 



frightful ordeal through which she was soon to pass, and thus it is 
with man. He passes more frequently than he ever dreams of through 
startling dangers. He treads upon the brink of eternity, and wan- 
ders close by his opening tomb, and yet he is none the wiser and none 
the more thoughtful. In his most pleasant moments, and when he 
least imagines, death is often grinning close at hand, and sorrow 
treading hard upon his heels. Thus it was with Thomas McFarland, 
while at every avenue of approach or escape stood a remorseless sol- 
dier only awaiting developments to give the signal of death. Another 
call from the gate and he arose, approached the little window and 
asked what was wanted. 

" We are home guards from across the river in Daviess County, 
and want our suppers and horses fed," was the significant and unmis- 
takable reply. 

It was now after midnight, a curious time to want supper. His 
sister, hearing the reply and apprehending that all was not safe for 
her brother, approached his room and asked of him what should be 

" Take them something to eat," was his quick reply, for he had 
never been known to turn a hungry man from his door. He partook 
of his sister's uneasiness, and placing himself at the door leading 
from his room to the hall or passage way through the building, deter- 
mined to defend his life and home at any cost. His sister secured 
a ham and some bread and quietly unbolted the front door, when three 
or more horrid men, armed to the teeth, pushing her aside, exclaimed : 
" Clear the way, that is not what we want ; it's your brother 
Tom, and him we intend to kill in spite of hell." 

The poor sister, frightened beyond understanding, sunk to the 
floor in piteous screams for mercy, but there was no mercy there. 
At this moment Mr. McFarland barred the door to his room and stood 
with the weight of his body against it. Several attempts were made 
to force it in, but without effect. The leader then called to six men 
to burst in the door, but in this they yet failed. Seeing this, the leader 
yelled a loud " Clear the way, I'll get him," and with this announce- 
ment fired sixteen buckshot through the door. Fortunately, as he 
said " Clear the way," Mr. McFarland anticipated his meaning, and 
he too cleared the way by stepping back to the wall of the house, the 
sixteen buckshot passing directly under his arm and in uncomfortable 
proximity to his body. With the firing the leader, so certain was he 
that he had killed his man, called at a loud voice, "Damn him, I've 
got him." At that the outer guards left their posts and rushed to the 


hall. Mr. McFarland, taking time by the forelock, and realizing that 
now was his only chance, leaped from a back entrance, master of the 
situation, and trimmed for '* out-^vinging" even the air piercing mes- 
senger of death sent after him. He was unincumbered, no bopts or 
shoes, coats or pants, retarded his progress, his garment was light 
and frail, of a pure white and fine texture, its tail fluttered in the 
breeze as though it were propelled by an arrow, and in this make-up 
he made three jumps from the door to an eight rail fence, over which 
he skipped as though it were one rail, and without halting. He was 
not troubled with a shortness of breath, but, as he progressed, seemed 
to accumulate wind and power of endurance. He in a moment more 
reached the woods, and there secreted himself to await the exit of his 
midnight visitors. Shortly after his successful escape, his would-be 
murderers broke in the door to his room and fired promiscuously into 
his bed and a trundle bed standing close by, but the bird had flown. 
The wads from the pistols set the bed clothing on fire, and but for the 
intercessions of his sister the house and contents would have been 
burned to the ground. At her request, some of the men threw the 
bed clothing out of the window, where it was permitted to burn un- 
molested. They then robbed the premises, getting some thirty-five 
dollars in money and all the good clothes he had. They then took 
what little money his old sister had and vacated the house, sadly dis- 
appointed at their failure to capture and kill the object of their visit. 
Two negro men were then pressed into their service, and with them, 
two men of the command went to the pasture and tok therefrom two 
very fine young horses, one of which belonged to the sister. The 
command then left, going in the direction of Hollow Port, and pass- 
ing but a few yards away from where Mr. McFarland was concealed 
in the brush. He had witnessed the taking of the horses, and the 
two negro men had witnessed his exit, which they compared to the 
flitting by of some spiritual apparition. After it was well believed 
that the midnight murderers had gone for good, the negro men ap- 
proached the woods and at a signal called their master to them. He 
came tremblingly, yet satisfying himself that all was well for^him. 
Once there he delivered his orders, one of which was to bring him 
some suitable garments and the news from the seat of war. This was 
soon done, and ajl evidence of his safety being fully assured he began 
to take an invoice of himself to see if he was all together, and, 
strange as it may appear, his feet were not scratched, nor was a hem 
of his garment torn, and, stranger still, an old chronic crick which 
had set in his neck, and had been pronounced incurable by his phy- 


sicians, had disappeared, and the once perfectly stiff member was 
now as supple as a limber jack. 

For this, of course, he was thankful, and as a solace for all that 
had passed thanked Providence for the cure, even though such terrible 
means had been used to produce the result. Having dressed himself in 
all that was left him, he made silent tracks, not to his home, but 
through the lonely woods in the direction of town. He pursued his 
journey with both eyes piercing in every direction and both ears sen- 
sitive to every rustle of the leaves. He came into the public road 
at John McCormick's just at daylight and followed it from there into 
the city. 

From that time to November, 1865, three years therafter, Mr. 
McFarland slept away from his house. The attack was made upon 
his home a few days before General Adam Johnson captured New- 
burgh, and when that distinguished commander was pursued through 
Henderson County by Captain Union Bethel with thirty-eight 
mounted men from Newburgh and Col. Gavin with a regiment of in- 
fantry, Mr. McFarland accompanied the expedition with the hope of 
capturing some of the disturbers of his peace and happiness, and re- 
gain if possible his lost property. When John Patterson, one of 
Johnson's most daring soldiers, was shot through both eyes in the 
end of the lane of the old Samuels place, this side of Slaughtersville, 
McFarland was riding in the rear at the time and was the only man in 
the whole command who volunteered to get Patterson to some house 
where he could be carefully and comfortably provided for. He took 
him to the house of Mr. Samuels and there left him. At the time of 
Patterson's wounding he thought Bethel's men were rebels from the 
manner in which they were dressed, and laboring under this mistake, 
he with others, dashed into the road between the advance guard and 
the command, and at a loud voice gave the command '* right and left 
face about." Seeing this Captain Bethel, Dr. McGill and Private 
Root dashed at him, but McGill's horse being the fleetest footed 
gave him the advantage and it was him who fired the shot that shut 
out the world to Patterson forever. Patterson's comrades escaped 

On the first night out Bethel's command captured Willis P'ields 
at his house on the old Knoblick Road near Robard's Station, and 
recaptured many of the guns, blankets, etc., ta)len by Johnson's 
command at the Newburgh surrender. Mr. McFarland was pres- 
ent just after the killing of Lieutenant Braydon, an account of which 
will be found under the head of Robards Station Precinct. He re- 
turned to Henderson with the remains of the dead lieutenant and 


was never again out with a scouting party. He has ever believed 
that he knew the men who were at his house on that terrible eleventh 
of July, 1862, and as the intelligence of each one's death reached 
him he was rejoiced of course. ^■■ 

It is said, with one or two exceptions, perhaps, the whole gang 
has been swept from the face of the earth, each one meeting a 
horrible death. After the war Mr. McFarland returned to his farm 
and labored hard to repair the loss incurred by lost time until last 
January, when he, as before stated, removed into the city. Unex- 
pectedly to him he succeeded during the war and just after its close in 
securing his long lost horses. 


This precinct as now known was originally a part of District No. 
t, with voting place in the town of Henderson. A few year there- 
after it became a part of District No. 2, with voting place at Gaflo- 
way's, now in the Hebardsville Precinct. In 1851, after the adop- 
tion of the present constitution, a part of Robard's Station Precinct, 
as now known, voted at Randall Osburn's, and a part at Achilles Nor- 
ment's, then at Tillotson's, then at Charles Leig's. In 1875 the pres- 
ent district was formed. 

At the formation of this precinct the voting place was established 
at George Rudy's old school house near McMullin's chapel. A short 
time thereafter it was changed to the Station. The eastern part of 
this precinct is rather hilly and rocky, the western level and very pro- 
ductive. Even the hilliest part of the district produces finely. The 
Green River hills produce the finest tobacco brought to this market. 
The district, as a general thing, is peopled by a thrifty, intelligent 
class of farmers, who are keeping step with this progressive age by 
building substantial plank fences in place of the old rail, and otherwise 
improving and enhancing the real and producing value of their 
realty. The improvement since the completion of the railroad has 
been very marked. 


George Rudy's school house, near McMullin's chapel, is the 
oldest in the district and is yet standing. This building has been 
used not only for school purposes but for church purposes also. Wash- 
ington Sale was the first teacher, and was followed by David Cowan, 
Frank Davis and Joseph C. Norman, between the years 1840 and '48. 
McMullins Chapel was the first house built exclusively for religious 
worship, known to have been built in the district since its formation. 


This house was built by the Methodist denomination, and was dedi- 
cated and consecrated in 1853 by Rev. William Edmunds. At Cherry 
Hill the regular Baptists have a church to which Rev. Spaurlin, of 
Caldwell County, makes regular visitations. 


Within the last few years three surface mines have been opened, 
and a very fine article of coal taken therefrom. These mines are 
located one, two and three miles from the L. & N. R. R., and are 
owned respectively by A. J. Denton, L. M. Cheaney and Enoch Eak- 


Near the station is where Parsons & Sandefur operated their 
large nursery, growing large stocks of fruit trees of all kinds indige- 
nous to this climate. They also grew all of the grape varieties. 


This precinct was kept at fever heat during a good portion of the 
war. Many of its citizens volunteered under Colonel Adam Johnson, 
and, during the time the recruiting service was executing its mission, 
many little skirmishes were had in and near its borders. Likewise, a 
number joined the Federal forces, and they were anxious that their 
homes should remain unmolested ; in other words, that the Confeder- 
ates keep out of their territory. 

In the summer of 1862, Colonels Johnson and Martin, on their 
return from the Newburg raid to headquarters at Slaughtersville, Ky., 
were pursued by Captain Union Bethel and thirty-eight mounted New- 
burgers, supported by Colonel Gavin's regiment of infantry. Near 
the old Samuel's place, above Robard's Station, Captain Megill, of 
Bethel's command, shot John Patterson, of Sebree City, through both 
eyes. Patterson was one of Colonel Johnson's most daring soldiers 
and his shooting, of course, greatly enraged the Confederates. They 
then determined to punish the enemy in every way possible, and to 
this end ambushed them at every turn in the road Colonel Gavin's 
commissary supplies running low, he dispatched Lieutenant Braydon 
and a few men with wagons to Henderson for the purpose of getting 
fresh supplies. Gavin accompanied Lieutenant Braydon, wearing an 
ordinary linen duster, while the Lieutenant was dressed in full mili- 
tary suit. The two were riding along the lane just back of Robard's 
Station, and not over a mile away, and about one or two hundred 
yards in advance of the wagon train, when just opposite Parsons & 
Sandefur's nursery, a party of Confederates lying in ambush took de- 


liberate aim and fired. At the crack of their guns Lieutenant Bray- 
don and his horse both fell mortally wounded and died in a few min- 
utes. It would seem that each shot was aimed at Braydon (owing to 
his shining dress), for Colonel Qavin was but slightly wounded in the 
arm. At this fire Gavin dashed into the woods and scampered away 
as fast as his horse could carry him. The Confederates, in the mean- 
time, retreated in the opposite direction. Gavin soon found that his 
horse was giving away under him, and but a moment after discovered 
that the animal was badly wounded. Dismounting and leaving him 
in the woods, he footed it alone in this dangerous country until he 
came in sight of a house, which he cautiously approached to ask the 
way to Henderson. This was Mr. Franklin Lester's and that gentle- 
man, or some one of the household, kindly gave the Colonel the de- 
sired information. Colonel Gavin suffered terribly from his wound, 
yet hurried along through the woods and succeeded in reaching Hen- 
derson next morning. Braydon was fired at by fourteen men, and 
upon examination of his body it was found to be literally shot to pieces 
with buckshot. 

Renz Fisher, a Captain in Colonel Johnson's command, and 
an officer of great personal daring, was raised in this precinct. His 
father lived a few miles from the Station on the Knoblick road, and 
during the summer of 1864, when the City of Henderson was invested 
by Federal soldiers, under command of Colonel John W. Foster, he 
ventured into the precinct and pitched camp a mile or more away 
from his father's house in the direction of Green River. News of 
this was brought to Foster, and by a returned Confederate soldier. 
Without divulging to his informant any of his plans, or making any 
promises, Foster very quietly ordered Lieutenant Carey, with double 
the number of men Fisher was represented to have had under him, to 
move out cautiously during the night, so as to be near the place of 
rendezvous by daylight the next morning. Lieutenant Carey had 
met Fisher before, and at one time received a bullet hole from his 
gun while in ambush along the roadside. Carey and his command ar- 
rived in sight of old man Fisher's house about one hour before day- 
light, and dismounted. He left a sufficient number of men to take 
care of the horses, and with the others proceeded on to a point in the 
woods opposite Fisher's house, where they secreted themselves, hoping 
to capture Renz Fisher and one or two of his men, whom be believed 
to be asleep in the house. 

Just before or about sunrise, he heard the cracking of weeds and 
bushes and the rustling of leaves proceeding from a ravine or ditch 


in an old field lying directly to his right. Carey was ambushed near 
the corner of this old field and just across the Knoblick Road di- 
rectly in front of the Fisher homestead. It was but a few moments 
more when he discovered the form of a man cautiously moving up 
the ditch in the direction of the house. Every movement of his 
body and the keen, nervous, suspecting glances of his eyes, showed 
that he was guilty. He manifested an uneasiness, a cautiousness, 
which at once satisfied Lieutenant Carey that the man was a rebel 
soldier and just from the camp. He would move forward a few 
steps, then halt on tip-toe and take a careful survey of all that sur- 
rounded him ; his approach to the road was intensely nervous and cau- 
tious, yet he moved on, little thinking that the keen eye of one whom he 
had ambushed only a few weeks before was watching his every move- 
ment now, and that an unerring carbine cocked and primed, was pointed 
directly at him. He reached the fence only a short distance away from 
Carey, he climbed it and was in a moment more standing in the cen- 
ter of the road, stretching his body, first surveying with rapid look in 
the direction of Henderson and then toward the Station. The long 
flowing curly locks which hung down his back glistened in the bright 
sunlight and all was now well with him. He turned his breast towards 
the very tree behind which his enemy lay secreted, and giving his 
head a gentle shake of self-satisfaction, started to move on in the di- 
rection of the house. An imaginary sound again attracted his atten- 
tion to the woods, and again halted, exposed to the full view of the 
enemy. During all of this exciting time Carey watched him with the 
eye of a hawk, endeavoring, if possible, to satisfy himself beyond 
peradventure that it was Renz Fisher. His carbine was pointed at 
him and a perfect bead drawn on his breast. As the doomed man 
straightened himself on tip-toe and gave one more shake of his head 
to disentangle his uncombed locks, Carey recognized him for certain 
and pulled trigger. Instantaneously at the report of the carbine the 
cautious rebel sprang into the air and fell full length upon the ground 
pierced through. This report brought out the inmates of the house, 
and soon old man Fisher was standing over the body of his dead boy 
in company with his slayer and other soldiers. The old man was 
called to identify the body, and protested he knew him not. Carey 
knew better, and drawing his carbine demanded that he tell or suffer 
the penalty of his duplicity. Then he took hold of the dead body, 
and with a shriek of pent-up anguish screamed aloud, " Oh, it is my 
boy, my darling boy !" 


The old man was then required to pilot the command to the 
rebel camp, which he did. On arriving there it was found that the 
last soldier had scampered away at the firing of the gun which had 
killed their captain, leaving a f-gw horses, guns and other camp equip- 
age. The body of the son was then given to the father and the com- 
mand returned to the city where Carey was greatly lionized. He at- 
tended the Presbyterian Church that day and worshipped as uncon- 
cernedly as though he had not ambushed and killed a human in the 
public highway, four or five hours previous to that time. 


It is asserted by those who profess to know, that in February, 
1873, the noted outlaws, Jim Younger and John Garrett, visited Ro- 
bards and remained in the neighborhood three months. That they 
traveled from New Orleans in a spring wagon drawn by two horses. 
That they went from Robards to Louisville to see the renowned de- 
tective, Yankee Bligh, who was in search of them, and failing to find 
the old man returned to Robards. That they made fr'iquent visits to 
Henderson, although the officials were searching for them. That they 
were orderly and well-behaved when not under the influence of liq- 
uor. When they determined to leave Kentucky they quietly drove to 
the Mt. Vernon ferry and crossed the Ohio into Indinna. All this 
they did when there were perhaps a hundred men on the look-out' for 


The County of Henderson contains many mineral springs, but 
the one near A. J. Denton's farm in this precinct is by far the best 
chalybeate to be found in the county, and no doubt the equal of any in 
the State. It is located about three miles from the Station in what 
is known as the Rock House branch. Not far away from this spring, 
surrounded by the wildest and most romantic scenery, is found the 
Rock House and Buzzard Hole. These two are remarkable natural 
curiosities, and even to this day have never been explored. 

It is said, that some years ago, Mr. Geo. W. King, the then 
owner of the land, employed a miner to explore the hidden recesses 
of this house, but after laboring some time the work was suddenly 
abandoned and the miner went away. He pursued his journey to 
near Green River where he had lived, and where he was soon after 
taken sick and died. Before death, however, he told his wife he had 
something he wanted to tell Mr. King, and then divulged the secret 
to her, of the Rock House and what he had done, and further said 
he would not strike another lick until he had earned enough to be- 


come the purchaser of the natural wonder. Mr. King arrived too 
late to see him alive and his wife refused to tell what she had been 
told. His discoveries, if any, have never to this day been known. 

This Rock House is made of a semi-circular shelf, projecting 
fifty feet over the surface with earth rock and scrubby trees, one hun- 
dred to one hundred and fifty feet above the shelf. Underneath this is 
a passage way which leads to a cave, the mouth of which is fifty feet 
distant. This cave has been explored to a distance of forty or fifty 
feet to a hole in the wall, through which no man has ever gone, and 
what is beyond is a hidden mystery. Off from the cave is the " Buz- 
zard Hole," an irregular shaped hole leading into a mountain of rock. 
Many years ago, Esquire Moss, while driving with his hounds, 
jumped a deer in the neighborhood of this shelf rock and in the chase 
the deer and one or more of the dogs ran over this high projecting 
mountain and fell dead on the surface below. It is located in the 
wildest part of the county and is very difficult of approach, in fact a 
person must be well posted indeed, who can engineer his way to the 
shelf. During the war it was used as a safe place of rendezvous 
for frightened and uneasy soldiers and citizens. The surrounding 
country is very hilly and mountainous, some rock hills standing 200 
feet above the valleys. The shelf rock is almost perpendicular. The 
property now belongs to W. G. Vaughn. 

Some time since the Calhoun, Ky., Progress contained a lengthy 
notice of this remarkable freak of nature, and among other things, it is 
said, that while one George Fryor, was searching around in this cave 
he happened to turn over a stone, and under that found a letter dated 
" Plotter's Cave," April 20th, 1868, which told of a hidden treasure, 
also, that on a large rock was engraved the names of J- H. Letcher 
and J. L. B. Bowder. This letter was mysteriously signed M. N. P., 
which being interpreted, evidently meant for the finder to make no 
proselytes to the lie he had written. Certain it is, the " hidden treas- 
ure " has never been discovered. 

Since the war this precinct has doubled itself in population, espec- 
ially in the sub-division of lands. For instance Mr. J. D. Robards owned 
eight hundred and fifty acres of land in a body at the close or just after 
the war which is now divided and worked in tracts of one hundred and 
ten acres. The average price of lands at this time is between twenty 
and twenty-five dollars. While tobacco, corn and wheat is the chief 
products of the precinct, a number of farmers are largely engaged in 
cattle raising, and find the country eminently adapted to that branch 
of business. 



A great many years ago this country was visited by men of bad 
repute from Christian, Hopkins, and other counties, and after submit- 
ting until forbearance ceased to be a virtue, a band of regulators, as 
they were called, organized and cleared the country of the outlaws. 


At> far back as 1810 and up to 1840, and even later, perhaps, 
where the station is now located, was a straight quarter or half mile 
race track where men used to congregate to bet, test the speed 
of their animals, drink liquor and otherwise indulge their vicious and 
uncultured appetites. 


The Odd Fellows have a lodge at the station. 


There is one commodious frame building used for the District 
Common School and for religious services. The Christian denomina- 
tion have the only established church, S. W. Cowan, minister. This 
congregation meets once a month and have occasional Sunday school 


J. D. Robards, for whom the precinct and station is called, built 
the first house in 1867. This was u frame store-house and occupied 
by him as a dry goods, grocery and general merchandise store. In 
this store he has carried on a business aggregating from twenty-five 
to forty thousand dollars per annum. 

In addition to this he owns and operates a tobacco stemmery, 
three stories 70x120 feet, in which he handles from two hundred to 
two hundred and fifty hogsheads of strips annually. He works from 
forty to fifty employes and ships direct from the station to Europe. 

Mr. James Cheaney does a snug business in the manufacture of 
brooms made of straw raised in the precinct. 


Among that number are Reuben Moss, George Robards, George 
Eakins, Bennett Sandefur, Jordan Moss, Enoch Spencer, Thomas 
Reidout, Ben Wall, Nathan Smith, T. W. Royster, Jas. McMullin, 
Sam'l M'Mullin, Sr. Among the oldest inhabitants now living are : 
Thomas Royster, J. F. Toy, Enoch Spencer, W. N. Royster and 
Marshall Robards. Mrs. Prissey Long, widow of Jno. Long, is the 
oldest inhabitant now living. 


N. B. — Since writing the foregoing, Robards has voted prohibition 
and it is said the wealth of the place has more than doubled. They 
now have nine stores, all doing well; one steam mill; one school 
building that is a credit to ihe county ; one large church with seating 
capacity of 350 to 400 ; one large livery stable and one good hotel. 
The population of the town has increased fully two hundred per cent, 
in the last three years. 


This district was originally a part of Ohio County, but by an act 
of the Legislature, approved January 16th, 1809, was taken from Ohio 
and added to Henderson County, and bounded as follows : Beginning 
on the Ohio at the mouth of Green River, and running up the Ohio 
to where the line of Henderson & Co.'s grant strikes the same, thence 
with said line to Green River, thence down the same to the beginning. 

For a number of years the qualified voters of this district voted 
at Henderson and then at Galloway's, near Hebardsville. 

After the adoption of the new Constitution, and on the sixth day of 
January, 1851, the district was again established as follows : Begin- 
ning at the mouth of Green River, thence up the Ohio River, includ- 
ing the Islands, to the dividing line between Henderson and Daviess 
Counties, thence with the said County lines to where it strikes Green 
River, thence down Green River to the beginning ; place of voting at 
the house of Isaac Clark. The voting place was continued at Clark's 
for a number of years after the war, when it was changed to Shelby's 
store at Scuffle town. All that part of the district lying across Green 
River, and opposite and above Spottsville, vote at Spottsville. 

Among the earliest settlers of this district were Henry Jeems, 
Jacob Fickers, Richard Van Kirk, Jonathan Stott, John Fuquay and 
Martin Vanada. During the year 1809 Eneas McCallister settled a 
few miles below the present town. Ten or twelve years after this, 
John Harrison, Edmund Galloway, Alfred Hill, John Folden, George 
McCormick, William Shelby, Charles Winfrey and others settled 
in the district. 

From 1800 to 1804, and perhaps years afterward, Jonathan Stott 
kept a tavern and bar at the point where Shelby's store is now located. 
He was said to be a wild sort of character and invited that class of 
men around him. The banks of the Ohio River at that time offered 
but few landing places, and in low water Stott's tavern was quite a 
place of resort and rendezvous for flatboatmen. Here they would 
hold high carnival and indulge their appetites for drink, as Stott kept 


a plenty of it. As was most generally the case at such gatherings, 
difficulties occurred and a general fight would ensue. From this the 
country around Stott's received^'the name of Scuffletown, a name which 
has clung to it from that day to this. 

From a few miles below Stott's to the mouth of Green River, the 
country has always been known as the point. 

There were no doctors in this part of the county in early times. 
Drs. James Hamilton and Gaither, of the town of Henderson, were 
frequently called there, and after their time most of the practice 
was done by Drs. Levi Jones and Owen Glass, of Henderson, and 
Dr. Trafton, of Evansville. Chills and fevers for many years were 
the annoyance of the whole river country, and from these malarial 
pests Scuffletown suffered as much as any other part of the river lands. 

In early times, and even up to 1830, the settlers in this part of 
the county suffered greatly from the ravages of wild animals. Wolves 
and bear were there in abundance, and in the early summer the bear 
would come in, break down the young corn and destroy the ears. 
During the years 1827, '28 and '29, a large number of bear were killed. 
Nathaniel G. Stanley has been known to kill as high as fifteen during 
one winter, and from his wonderful success received the appellation of 
" Daniel Boone " of the precinct. 

There were no schools in the earliest days of the settlement, but 
in 1817 Jonathan Bunn was employed by Eneas McCallister, father of 
John E. McCallister, to teach a neighborhood school. One morning 
before opening his school, he was called by the barking of Mr. 
McCallister's dogs to a neighboring thicket and there discovered, in 
a tree, a large black bear. Mr. McCallister was notified and with his 
trusty rifle soon fell bruin to the ground, and had him conveyed to his 
house. The skins of these animals were sold in those days for the 
moderate sum of one dollar and fifty cents. 

The whole face of the country was covered with cane, affording a 
most excellent food for cattle. 


On Green River, below the mouth of Griffith Creek, is a large 
mound, one hundred feet in circumference at its base, and fully fifteen 
feet in height, and near by are large holes from which the earth was 
taken to build the mound. From what is known of this mound, it is 
safe to say it was built by the Mound Builders, a race of people who 
inhabited the country anterior to the red man. 


The first church ever built in this part of the county, of which 
anything is known, was erected by the Christian denomination on the 
Vanada farm in 1830. A story characteristic of Charles Winfrey, an 
old bachelor who lived near Scuffletovvn, is told. He seldom ever 
attended church, but when this one was established, and after several 
sermons had been preached, he partook of the curiosity which had 
seized the whole country around, and one day had his old grey mare 
saddled to attend and see for himself. Going along the road in the 
direction of the church, he was halted by one of his neighbors and 
interrogated as to where he was journeying. " I am going up here to 
church. I learn that these people have discovered a new route to 
Heaven fully forty miles nearer, and I am going to see for myself." 

Charles Winfrey was the first magistrate in the precinct, having 
been appointed in the year 1821. He was succeeded by Charles W. 
Allen ; he by George McCormick, and he by John E. McCallister. all 
under the old Constitution. 

This precinct has always been noted for its large number of pecan 
trees. The number on the lands of Esq. John E. McCallister have 
for many years aggregated fully five hundred, and one year he realized 
one thousand dollars from this crop alone. 

William Shelby, Jr., in 1865 packed his tobacco and shipped to 
Europe. In 1860 he went to Scuffletown and with his uncle, John S. 
McCormick, built a tobacco stemmery and embarked regularly in 
tobacco stemming for the European markets. Their average business 
was from four hundred to four hundred and fifty hhds. per year. In 
the year 1877 the firm put up six hundred hhds. Up to 1860 the 
planters had never engaged largely in tobacco growing, but through 
the efforts of Mr. Shelby, a larger crop was grown. In 1877 1,100,000 
pounds were produced, the largest crop ever known, and with perhaps 
a few thousand pounds, this entire crop was bought and handled by 
Shelby & McCormick. 

In 1868 Shelby & McCormick built a large storehouse near their 
factory and stocked it with a general assortment of merchandise. 

A steam grist mill and blacksmith shop soon followed. This 
firm did a very large business selling from their store, many years as 
high as forty thousand dollars worth of goods, and averaging one year 
with another, fully thirty thousand dollar sales. The average product 
of this precinct is from 500 to 600,000 pounds of tobacco, and 150,000 
bushels of corn. 

The precinct comprises about twelve thousand acres of land, 
mostly cleared ; six thousand acres are within the bounds of the fence 


company's lines, and are mostly in a high state of cultivation. There 
is no better land to be found on the Continent than that bordering on 
the river. i?" 

The precinct now has three district schools and one Union 
Church. The church was built several years ago by private subscrip- 
tion, and upon its completion was dedicated by the Rev. J. W. 
Pondexter, now of Texas. A magnificent dinner was spread on the 
occasion and hundreds of people attended. 

Through the influence of Mr. Shelby and others a post office was 
established at Scuffletown, and the first mail received in 1867. John 
W. Folden was appointed Post Master and served up to June, 1881. 


On the night of the 4th of December, 1836, William Wurnell, a 
desperate character, stabbed and killed Abner Jones in what was 
known as Lake Town, on the Ohio River, six miles above Scuflletown, 
at the house of Ike Dover. John E. McCallister was the District 
Magistrate at the time, and upon information, issued his warrant for 
Wurnell's arrest. The murderer had fled, but was afterwards captured 
opposite Smithland and brought back, tried and held to the Grand 
Jury. An indictment was found, a conviction had and Wurnell hung 
in the town of Henderson. 


During the latter part of the war, when the draft act was being 
so rigidly enforced by the Federal authorities, substitutes were in great 
demand, commanding in many mstances as high a price as one 
thousand dollars. At that time there were a great many likely negro 
men in the Scuffietown precinct, and strange to say they had been let 
alone by the army of negro thieves on the border. These negroes 
were well treated and contented to remain where they were, but the 
desire for gain and the easy manner in which large sums of money 
could be accumulated by thieving scoundrels in Indiana, soon 
unsettled their happy lives and completely disarranged all of their 
plans. Interlopers from Indiana were continually slipping into 
Kentucky and whispering in the night time to them stories of a joyous 
freedom. These scoundrels professed to be their friends and mani- 
fested a desire to spirit them away to the land of freedom where they 
could find employment and be masters of their own labor. The 
negroes were not much disposed to listen to their glowing stories, and 
yet hesitated. 


All this time the draft was going on and the unlucky were seeking 
substitutes. Many Indianians of wealth were drafted and were willing 
to pay any price for a sound man as a substitute. Finally a regularly 
organized clan for the purpose of driving the negroes, whether they 
wanted to go or not, appeared upon Kentucky soil, and succeeded in 
securing a goodly number to accompany them upon the promise of a 
rich reward. These poor deluded darkies would go, and when once 
over the river were sold into the army, and their white friends would 
pocket the money. The planters in Scuffletown organized a patrol 
to guard the river front and shoot down any mterloper coming across 
the river without satisfactory credentials ; and yet, with all their 
vigilance, they continued to lose their negroes. 


An old bachelor, and the largest land and slave owner in the precinct, 
was continually annoyed by these night prowlers. He was kind to 
his slaves and none of them wanted to leave him. He lived in a 
house by himself and had his slaves quartered in different settlements 
on his lands. One day in November, 1864, Wm. Shelby, Esq., 
receiving information that a party from Indiana intended that night to 
visit Winfrey's for the purpose of running off his negro men, conveyed 
to him immediately what he had heard. Mr. Winfrey prepared 
himself to meet them, and for that purpose, with one or more of 
his men, guarded the river bank until a late hour in the night. Be- 
coming sleepy and thinking the thieves would not cross over, he 
returned to his house and was soon soundly asleep. He had taken 
the precaution during the day to send around and notify his men, and 
as a greater precaution had them all come to his house that night for 

A short while after retiring the thieves came and were headed by 
a man who had prior to that time overseed for John B. Davis, of this 
county. This man knew Mr. Winfrey and knew his fearless character. 
The thieves were all armed, but approached the house cautiously. 
They soon found that the negroes could not be driven off without 
disturbing their master, so the leader concluded to go near his room 
and call him. He approached his room, called him from his sleep 
and told him that they had come for his negroes. The old man 
sprang from his bed and ordered them off of his premises. They 
declined going and directed him not to come out of his room. He 
put on his pants and with his double-barrelled gun came out on to a 
side porch, when the villain who led the party took aim and fired, 
shooting him through and through. At the firing of this gun, the 


whole party ran from the house and were soon in their boats, crossing 
the river without ever having encountered any of the bank patrols. 
Mr, Winfrey lived but a short time after he was shot. He was a very 
wealthy man and many ugly stories were circulated concerning some 
of his relatives and their association with his killing. Charles 
Winfrey was one of the noblest of men. His word was regarded by 
all his neighbors as of equal value with any man's bond. He was a 
kind neighbor and master, and a man of unimpeachable integrity. 
His death cast a gloom over the whole surrounding country and no 
man's death was ever more keenly regretted. Wm. Shelby and N. B. 
Hill rode to Owensboro next day after the shooting to lay the case 
before the military, but that branch of the government service refused 
to take hold of or have anything to do with the matter in any way. 

At the earnest solicitation of some local as well as non-resident 
relatives, Esquire John E. McCallister settled the estate and suc- 
ceeded in bringing to light some rascalities which, but for his 
indomitable will and energy, would have remained secrets forever. 


It was a few miles below Scuffletown, in 1862, where Col. Adam 
Johnson, with Lieut. Col. Bob Martin, planted his black log upon the 
hind wheels of a two-horse wagon and frightened the great town of 
Newburgh with one hundred or more Federal soldiers, and an equal 
number ot home guards, into an unconditional surrender. It was 
here where he, with two men and Martin with seventeen to twenty, 
crossed the Ohio to Newburg, took possession of the town, paroled all 
of the Federal troops and brought back to the Kentucky side hundreds 
of guns and an unknown quantity of munitions of war. At the mouth 
of Green River, in this precinct, was where four or five of his men 
fired upon a Federal transport and forced her to retreat. 


Is the name of a village located at the junction of the Henderson 
and Morganfield and Henderson and Mt. Vernon roads. It is situ- 
ated upon high, rolling land and is one of the prettiest natural loca- 
tions to be found anywhere. The section of country comprising this 
voting precinct was originally as wild as the early pioneer could wish, 
and even very many years anterior to its settlement it was inhabited 
by bear, wild cats, wolves, panthers and endless numbers of deer and 
turkeys. Bear were known in this part of the county as late as 1835. 
In early times this precinct was known as Rowlanson's settlement, 
taking its name from that of William Rowlanson, and several brothers, 



who were perhaps the first settlers. Among the early settlers were 
Colonel Robert Smith, Captain Lazarus Powell, Stephen Martin and 
Aaron Knight. 


In very early times there were no schools or churches in this dis- 
trict, and it was only an occasional time when preaching was heard 
or the opportunity was offered children for gaining an insight into the 
primary branches Itinerent preachers and teachers would occa- 
sionally pass through and perhaps locate for a month or more and 
teach a small school. The first church built in the precinct was 
erected upon a lot of ground located on a most beautiful hill, a half 
mile beyond the point or village, by Stephen Martin. This was as 
early as 1825, and the house of worship erected thereon was built of 
brick burned by the surrounding neighbors. The money to complete 
the work was subscribed by the neighbors, and, as an evidence of 
their liberality, a brick church soon stood upon the high hill. A man 
by the name of Drury did the brick work and it was universally ac- 
knowledged to be the roughest ever seen, even up to the time it was 
torn down. This was not the fault of the builder of the house but of 
those who builded the brick. The educational and religious interest 
increased rapidly during the last three or four decades, and now on 
the spot where the rough old brick stood stands a beautiful frame 
church, the property of the Baptist denomination, and within a half 
mile is another, the property of the Methodist denomination. The 
first of these buildings is forty by sixty feet, the second, fifty-five by 
thirty-five. The congregations average from seventy-five to one hun- 
dred and ten members each. 


As stated in sketches of other precincts, the people of this pre- 
cinct in early times first voted at Henderson. In 1833 the county 
was divided into three precincts. Walnut Bottom being one of the 
three, and at the house of William B. Cannons the election polls were 
held. Here the people of Smith's Mills voted until 1849, when a 
voting place was established at Colonel Robert Smith's residence, 
about half a mile beyond the present post office. From that time to 
this, although there never was a separate magisterial district, there 
has always been either at Colonel Smith's house, or at the village, a 
voting place for the accommodation of the people of that section. 


In the year 1812, just after the great earthquakes, a most terrific 
hurricane passed across this district, sweeping everything before it. 


It cut a clear swath through the forest varying in width from a half to 
a mile wide. The destruction of timber was terrific, and its tanded 
and matted condition remained for many years. 

In early times; and even up to 1845, Smith's Mills was perhaps 
most noted for its horse racing. It was usually the custom for men to 
gather on Saturday evenings for the purpose of racing and betting, 
and having placed the judge on the hill, near Colonel Elias Powell's 
present residence, would start the horses at the point and run to the 

The lands of this precinct are generally rolling, and justly re- 
garded as one of the very best portions of the county. The low, 
level lands are very superior. Heavy crops of wheat, corn and to- 
bacco are grown annually, and some sorghum. Of late years many 
farmers have turned their attention to stock raising and grazing and 
have found the country eminently adapted to that purpose. On 
Highland Creek there is a salt lick, where cattle congregate for the 
purpose of satisfying their briny appetites. 

The oldest living inhabitants are G. B. Martin, B. F. Martin, 
Royal Utley, Elias Powell, Person Latta, Scarlet Latta, Laz Hancock, 
John Higgins, and Esquire James Lilly. 

The farmers of this district, as a general thing, are all thrifty 
and well to do, and have their lands in a good state of cultivation. 
Society has very much improved, and no people are more thought of 
for the many excellent traits which go to make up a fine, hospitable, 
law abiding, moral people, than those who live and have their being 
in this precinct. 

The first post office established in Henderson County, outside 
of the town of Henderson, was located at the residence of Colonel 
Robert Smith, and was maintained at that place until removed to the 
village, or the point, as it is sometimes called. 

Colonel Smith built and operated the first grist mill ever known 
in the Smith's Mills section of the county. His was an old-fashioned 
sweep mill, pulled by horses or oxen, and did the grinding for the 
whole county for years. 


Was established in 1860 a precinct and voting place. As far back as 
1833, before the locks were built, the falls were known as Knight's 
Falls, and there were no buildings on the bank save those owned by 
men engaged in quarrying rock. The first town was located down in 


what was known in early times as the lower coal banks or Spott's 
Mill. Major Spotts, in 1829, owned most of the land lying on Green 
River, and had made seven coal entries, running into the bank from 
the river. Later, in 1833, Robert Scott, a brother-in-law, sunk a shaft 
for Major Spotts, and then the entries were closed. His object was 
to float coal to New Orleans, but misfortune overtook him and but 
little of his coal reached that market. 

The original name of the now town of Spottsville was " Shanty," 
deriving its name from the shantys occupied by the rock men. It 
was afterwards known as " The Locks." During the year 1850 the 
place was called " Spottsville," Major Spotts' children, Harry, Jim, 
their wives, Mrs. Lydia McBride, and Miss Lydia Scott, giving it that 
name in honor of its founder. Major Sam Spotts, of the United States 

The magnificent locks built in Green River at Spottsville, by the 
State, were commenced in the fall or winter of 1833. Joseph Bar- 
bour, employed by the State to build the locks and dam, arrived at 
Spottsville during the summer of 1834, and commenced getting out 
rock from the bank between Upper and Lower Spottsville, as now 
known, and Sugar Camp branch. He worked between two and three 
hundred men, and quarried enough rock to build the face work to the 
locks and abutments, which he had piled up on the plain between the 
bluff bank and river. The winter of 1834 was an exceedingly cold 
one, so cold it is said the mice eat up the red peppers, and the rock 
of that quality that would not stand such exposure. Consequently, 
most of it crumbled, or was so materially damaged that it was rejected 
by the engineer in charge of the work. Barbour, therefore, found 
himself broken up and compelled to abandon the contract. In the 
winter, in wedging out the rock, the workmen found a roll of thirteen 
rattlesnakes, and in the center of the roll was a toad^ quietly taking 
his rest. Upon the failure of Barbour, the contract was then awarded 
Captain William Brown, who completed the locks and dams during 
the year 1842. Captain Brown opened a rock quarry at Rock Island, 
Indiana, and boated his material from that point. Mr. James Burnes, 
of Hebardsville, was employed during the time this work was being 
done, as Captain Brown's head blacksmith. During the year 1840, 
Captain Brown's steamboat, " Buck Snatcher," used in towing, while 
coming down from the upper dam, got caught in an eddy at the foot 
of the island, caused by a coffer dam built at the head of the chute, 
and capsized. There were a number of passengers on board, among 
the number, Mrs. Settlemier and seven or eight children and Mrs 


Captain Brown. Only four of the passengers were saved, three boys 
of Mrs. Settlemier and Mrs. Brown, who floated down the river fully 
a mile clinging to a barrel, until rescued by a fisherman named Peter 
Johnson. It was said that Mrs. Brown's presence of mind was more 
than remarkable. 

Many lives have been lost at the dam. Joe Settlemier and Wil- 
liam Raysner, in endeavoring to save a lot of saw logs, went over the 
dam and were lost two years after the mill was built. Since that time 
Alvan Williams and Joe Smith lost their lives in a similar way. 

In 1844 there was a great barbecue given near Spottsville, dur- 
ing the Clay and Polk campaign, where that great wit, Thomas Towles, 
a disciple of Mr. Clay, made in a speech, his celebrated comparison. 
Said he : " Gentlemen, you might as well compare the noise made 
by the "rack of a porter bottle to the wreck of matter and the crush 
of worlds, as to compare these two men." 

In early times the nearest church or school house was to be found 
eight miles from Spottsville, on Major Posey's land. 

Among the early settlers of Spottsville were Robert Scott, Rob- 
ert Scott, Jr., George Lyne, Samuel Hopkins, Daniel Slayton and 
Jesse Knight. 


Major Samuel Spotts was a soldier, and spent but little time on 
his possessions. He entered the army in 1812 as Second Lieutenant, 
Fourteenth Artillery, and served up to 1829. Served with General 
Jackson throughout the Seminole and Creek Indian wars and was 
brevetted at New Orleans. In 1829 he was appointed by General 
Jackson, Major, and during the year appointed x\ssessor of the Port 
of New Orleans. While in New Orleans, and during the summer of 
1833, he died of cholera. During the years 1827 and 1828 he was 
stationed at Fortress Monroe, and while there obtained a furlough and 
came West to look at his lands. He spent several summers on Green 
River with his brother-in-law, Robert Scott. Major Spotts married 
Harriet, a daughter of Dr. Chetherall, U. S. A., Charleston, South 
Carolina. She died June 10th, 1834, and was buried in the Hender- 
son cemetery. 


Is a flourishing town of five or six hundred inhabitants, large coal 
mines, operated by T. Shiver, and doing a large shipping business 
down the river. It has fine school and church advantages, good so- 
ciety, and all other claims necessary to make it a desir^lble locality to 
live in. It has local option, a flourishing lodge of Good Templars, 


and is the home of R. Sidney Eastin, the Worthy Chief of the order 
in Kentucky. 

In 1861, Captain A. C. Bryant organized a company of Home 
Guards in the neighborhood of Spottsville. During the fall of the 
same year, the town was occupied by State troops under Captains 
Holloway and Starling, for the purpose of protecting the locks, it hav- 
ing been reported that Captain Daniel White, of Hopkins County* 
had been directed by General Buckner, of the Confederate army, to 
destroy them. Captain Holloway was relieved by the Thirty-second 
Indiana, United States troops. 


This precinct, since the death of Mr. James Tillotson, was 
known for many years as Cross Plains, and of later years as Niagara. 
The voting place is now known as Niagara. As was the case with all 
other parts of the county in very early times, this particular part was 
largely invested by wolves, panthers, wild cats and such like, deer 
and turkey in abundance. ' 

Educational and church advantages were no better here than 
has been shown to exist in other precincts. It is enough to know 
that few hardy pioneers suffered as great privations as those else- 
where in the countv. 

The people of this precinct first voted, as has been stated in the 
sketch of Robards," thereafter they voted for years at Tillotson's, 
then at Leigs' and then at Cross Plains. The present voting place is 
known as Niagara, but it is the same as Cross Plains. As a general 
thing this precinct, especially that portion between Anthoston and 
Green River, is mostly rolling land, yet of the best quality, producing 
the finest corn and tobacco. A great part of it is heavily timbered, dog- 
wood, poplar, hickory and oak constituting the main growth. The 
farms are generally well improved and the farmers thrifty, energetic 
and well-to-do. It can be safelv a3serted that no better farminc: or 
grazing lands can be found than are to be had in this precinct, the 
Green River portion producing the finest tobacco. 


Known in this section of the country was a small log affair called 
" Shiloh." It was located near George Eakin's farm, was a Union 
church, and primitive schools were taught in it. Subsequent to that a 
Union church was built where Pleasant Valley Church now stands. 
In this church as well as Shiloh, schools were taught. Old Shiloh was 


a noted church, and great sermons for those early times, were preached 
in that little log hut dedicated to religion. The present church build- 
ing at Pleasant Valley is a twg-story one, the lower story used for 
church worship, while upstairs the Masons hold their regular meet- 
ings. " Pleasant Valley " Lodge is composed of many of the best 
men of the precinct, and very many of its members are active 
workers in the order. This church is also a Union church. There 
is at the present time but one village in the precinct and that is the 
voting place known as Niagara. , 

At one time Ranger's Landing was a place of considerable im- 
portance, but it has lost its identity. Ranger's Landing is located 
upon Green River and was named in honor of Morris Ranger, of 
New York, the great cotton and tobacco king, who during the war 
caused to be built at this point a large, substantial and commodious fac- 
tory for handling tobacco. For several years he carried on an im- 
mense business and really was a king in that territory. The factory 
is yet standing but in dreadful repair. Niagara is well located and is 
a thrifty little village. 

J. W. Porter is the owner and operator of a large two-story tobacco 
stemmery, a house with a capacity of handling from three to four 
hundred hogsheads annually. He is a large, yet prudent and success- 
ful buyer. 

Close to Niagara is the noted "Martha Brown's" Springs, a 
chalybeate water of fine quality. This old spring, in the times of 
Whigs, Know Nothings and Democrats was a noted gathering place 
for those political clans. The greatest men of the country have 
spoken from its hillside, and thousands of men have shouted them- 
selves hoarse. The eloquence of Govs, Dixon, Powell, Kinney, 
Vance, Crockett, Hughes, Dallam and others have made the welkin 
ring. Those were good old t?lnes, the days of James Tillotson 
and others like him ; nothing of the kind has been witnessed since the 

A postoffice was established at Niagara in 1882, prior to that 
time it was through the kindness of Mr. J. W. Porter that the people 
received their letters and papers. Mr. Porter has been postmaster 
for a number of years. 

There is a district school taught at Niagara attended by a very 
rcbpectable number of pupils. Of late years a very handsome Union 
church has been erected. The business of Niagara, in addition to 
Porter's tobacco interest, consists of a grocery and general merchan* 


dise store owned by J. W. Porter, a drug, grocery and dry goods store, 
owned by Dr. J. M. Willingham, a blacksmith and wood working 
shop, by the Biggs Brothers, and a boot and shoe shop by Frank 

Local option was voted several years since and a drink of liquor 
can't be had. 

Among the oldest inhabitants now living are : Sam'l E. King, 
John Dorris, E. C. Craig, C. C. Eades, John R. Knight, Robert Til- 
Idtson, Radford Dunn, Bradley Towler and George Triplett. 




TT is a traditionary fact that among the earliest settlers of Hen- 
^ derson County there were many men of ordinary education and 
considerable property, while there were many others lacking in the 
primary branches and very poor. As in most counties the majority 
excelled in intelligence the average population from which they had 

When, perhaps, as many as a dozen families had located upon a sec- 
tion of land from ten to fifteen miles square, there was an effort made 
to establish a school. As a unanimous thing a rude unhewn log 
cabin, at one end of which a chimney built of sticks and m?Id was 
erected. These buildings were covered with boards held to their 
places by poles as no nails were to be had. The cabins were never 
known to have windows, and only a small opening called a door. The 
benches or seats used, were made of logs split through the middle, 
and holes bored in the round side in which were driven common split 
sticks, which did the service of legs. In these rude cabins, the pri- 
mitive teacher at a compensation of from fifty cents to one dollar per 
month for each scholar, taught reading, writing, spelling, and a little 
arithmetic. Many of those employed were men of superior intelli- 
gence and thorough teachers. Books were few, therefore, those to be 
had were thoroughly taught and as thoroughly studied. The readers 
used m early times, especially the " Old English " and the '*' National " 
were filled with the finest selections to be found in the English 
language. Many men with no advantages beyond those found in the 
pioneer schools, became noted professional and business men. As noth- 
ing beyond what has been mentioned was taught in these early schools, 


the teachers would go from one neighborhood to another and teach 
grammar for a term of five or six weeks. Writing and geography 
was also taught by these primitive teachers. Thus the children were 
offered an opportunity for acquiring a moderate education and very 
many of them embraced this opportunity, yet the majority of settlers 
enjoyed but poor facilities for obtaining this blessing. The thinly 
settled condition of the county and the extreme distance necessary to 
be traveled, in many instances offered an insurmountable obstacle. 
The woods were wild, no roads, and the dangers attending the daily 
walk, necessarily kept most persons from sending their little ones so 
far from home, consequently they grew up in ignorance. Nor was 
this all, money was very scarce and a large number of the inhabitants 
at that time found it impossible to raise the small sum charged by the 
teacher. As the county grew in population and wealth, there was a 
gradual improvement, but to this day, in many parts of the county> 
the people are nearly as far behind in educational matters as they 
were in primitive days. Some of the county school buildings at this 
day are yet the poorest cabins and not worth perhaps as much as fifty 
dollars. Of late years however there has been great improvement in 
the buildings. 

Our system of common schools dates back to 1822. It was not 
however, until the act of Congress, approved June 23d, 1836, that any 
practical results were attained. During this year Congress appor- 
tioned about fifteen millions of dollars of surplus money in the 
treasury to the several older States in the form of a loan, of which 
Kentucky's share was $1,433,757. Though no provision of the law 
imposed on the State the obligation to devote this fund exclusively to 
purposes of education, yet it was asked on this plea and granted with 
this expectancy. Yet by act of February 23d, 1837, $l,nOO,000 only 
of the fund was set apart as the financial basis of our educational 
system, and by an act of February 16th, 1868, this amount was 
actually reduced to $850,000. This, then, is the origin and principal 
resource of our permanently invested school fund, from the interest 
of which, for many years, we derived our only public school revenues 
and from which a portion of our annual school revenues are now 

In 1838 the first school law was enacted for the establishment of 
common schools in Kentucky. An act was passed in 1847-8 providing 
for the submission of a proposition to a vote of the people to levy a 
tax of two cents on the one hundred dollars to increase the revenue 
for common school purposes. The people ratified this proposition by 


a large majority. Beginning with the fall of 1849, the convention for 
forming a new constitution was held. It was then by the eleventh 
article, the school funds, for which the State had executed her bonds 
to the State Board of -Education, were forever dedicated to common 
school purposes. In 1855 the people, by a large majority, ratified the 
proposition to increase the ad vaIore?n tax from two cents to five cents 
on the one hundred dollars. But little organic change was made in 
the school svstem until after the close of the civil war. At the August 
election, 1869, a proposition to increase the tax to fifteen cents was 
submitted and ratified by a large majority. Under this law, the 
aggregate amount of schooling was more than doubled and the quality 
of education greatly improved. Better teachers were employed and 
salaries of teachers prior to that time, fixed at from twelve to thirty 
dollars per month for three months, were raised to thirty and forty- 
five dollars per month for five months. 

The Legislature in 1822 passed an act establishing school 
districts in the several counties of the State, and agreeably to that act, 
the County Court of Henderson County did, in the same year, pro- 
ceed to lay off Henderson County into twelve districts. In 1839, on 
application of Col. Robert Smith, James S. Priest and Willie Sugg, 
Common School Commissioners for Henderson County, it was 
ordered by the County Court that the surveyor of the county lav off 
and divide the county into convenient school districts. In 1842, 
March 1st, the Legislature gave to the School Commissioners, or a 
majority of them, the power to district their county or to allow or 
modify the same as circumstances might require, without making 
application to the County Court, also authorizing the commissioners, 
or any one of them, co hold elections in any of the districts without 
any order from the County Court. Also power to appoint three 
examiners, who should be professional teachers, at or near the town 
of Henderson, whose duty it was to examine and give certificates to 
teachers. This act further stipulated that in case any district failed 
or neglected to levy a tax for the support of a common school, the 
citizens legally entitled to vote therein or a majority of them, might 
proceed to raise by subscription or otherwise, any sum of money for 
the support of a school, not less than enough to support a school for 
three months in each year, and upon this fact being certified to the 
School Commissioner by the Trustees of such district, they should then 
be entitled to their just proportion of the money allowed for the 
support of common schools. Under this law the schools of the county 
were conducted. The funds necessary to the successful carrying on 


of the District Schools was small and as a necessary consequence the 
schools were poor indeed. 

As before stated, in 1848 a proposition was submitted to the 
qualified voters as to the expediency of creating a tax of two cents on 
the one hundred dollars for common school purposes. It was supposed 
that there would be no objection to such an insignificant tax, yet 
Henderson County gave a majority vote of twenty-one against the 
proposition. It carried, however, in the State and proved in the 
end a blessing compared to what had been. Yet this sum was found 
in a short time afterwards to be too small for the purpose at hand, 
and in 1855 another proposition to increase the tax to five cents on 
the one hundred dollars was submitted to the qualified voters, and 
strange to say, was carried by a large majority, the county vote being 
for 1,011 against 398, a majority of 613. This tax, though small, yet 
had a most favorable effect for good. The county was again redis- 
tricted. Prior to the war there were many excellent schools in the town 
and county and there were but few unable to give their children an 
opportunity for getting a plain English education, but subsequent to 
the war this condition ot things changed very materially. The number 
of poor people was greatly increased, very many of them unable to 
pay tuition at all. This increase of poor people was due in a great 
measure to immigration into the county of persons from other States. 

Had there been no public schools, the condition of the children 
would have been deplorable indeed. In 1869 an act to increase the 
school tax to twenty cents on the one hundred dollars was submitted 
to the qualified voters, and stranger than in the second instance, the 
proposition was badly defeated in this county. The city and Spotts- 
ville, praised be their names, did nobly by voting handsome majorities 
for the tax ; however, the tax carried by a large majority in the 
State, and the act of the Legislature became a law. Since that 
time the public or common school system in this county has becr;me 
respectable and has been the source of immense good to the youth of 
the county. 

From 1850 to 18'/ 2, Rev. John McCullough held the ofiice of 
Common School Commissioner, and worked indefatigably in the in- 
terest of educating the young. He was extremely popular with the 
children, and was, perhaps, the best known man in the county. Dr. 

H, H. Farmer, a man of superior qualifications, succeeded Mr. Mc- 
Cullough, and served in that capacity from 1872 to 1880. Mr. Ezra 
C. Ward was appointed to succeed Dr. Farmer. He served four 
years and was succeeded by A. L. Smith. In 1866 William Hatchitt 
was elected and is yet Commissioner. 


Commissioners prior to 1850 were Thomas Towles, A. H. Bailey, 
Colonel Robert Smith, Willie Sugg and James S. Priest. 


This was the first school of any note in Henderson County. On 
the 10th of February, 1798, an act of the Legislature was approved, 
donating and setting a part of the public lands of the Commonwealth 
of Kentucky, 6,000 acres each, for the benefit of certain academies 
and seminaries of learning. A similar act was approved February 
11th, 1809, eleven years afterwards, embracing like provisions and 
extending therein to Henderson and other counties. The following 
is a copy of section one of the act of 1809 : 

'*Be it enacted hy the General Assembly, That the Justices of the County 
Courts of Henderson, Caldwell and Hopkins Counties are hereby authorized 
to procure to be located, surveyed and patented, 6,ooo acres of any vacant 
and unappropriated land in the Commonwealth for the use of Seminaries of 
learning within their respective counties, except the lands to which the Indian 
title is extinguished by the treaty of Tellico, and the lands lying west of the 
dividing ridge between the waters of Cumberland and Tennessee." 

Under the terms of this act no person was to be permitted to 
settle upon any of this reservation after the expiration of one month's 
time from the passage of this act. 

From absolute negligence, or else some other palliating reason, 
the Justices of Henderson County failed to locate, have surveyed 
and patented, the six thousand acres of land offered them by the 
State. Subsequent to this act, to-wit : on the thirty-first day of De- 
cember, 1813, another act was passed establishing an Academy in the 
town of Henderson, to be known as the " Henderson Academy." 
Section two of this act constituted Adam Rankin, Joseph Fuquay, 
Daniel McBride, William R. Brown, James Hillyer, Richard Hender- 
son and Wyatt H. Ingram a body politic and corporate to be known 
by the name of the " Trustees of the Henderson Academy.'' They 
were given perpetual succession and all the powers and privileges 
enjoyed by the Trustees of any Academy or Seminary of learning in 
the State. They were authorized in their corporate capacity to pur- 
chase or receive by donation any lands, tenements, hereditaments, 
moneys, goods, rents and chattels, and to hold the same by the name 
aforesaid, to them and their successors forever, for the use and benefit 
of the said Academy, and to sell the same if deemed proper and ap- 
ply the proceeds to the use and benefit thereof. 

On the sixth day of June, 1814, in accordance with the act. Dr. 
Adam Rankin, first named trustee, called a meeting of the Trustees, 


and the following were present : Adam Rankin, Joseph Fuquay, 
Daniel McBride, James Hillyer, Wyatt Ingram and Richard Hender- 
son. These trustees met at the house of Joseph Fuquay and seve- 
rally took the oath of office as prescribed by the act. Dr. Adam Ran- 
kin was unanimously elected President of the Board and Richard 
Henderson, Clerk. 

On the fourteenth day of June, 1814, it was ordered by the Board 
that Rev. Daniel Comfort be appointed a tutor to take charge of the 
pupils of the Academy for the space of six months, under the direc- 
tion of the Board, and that he be paid for that time the sum of two 
hundred and fifty dollars. The price of tuition was fixed as follows : 
For the learned languages and sciences, $20.00 per annum , reading, 
writing, arithmetic and English grammar, $15.00; reading, writing 
and spelling, $10.00, and an additional charge of two dollars was 
made against each student to defray the expense of house rent and 

The Board then rented of Mrs. Catharine Brent the old log house 
known for years as " Blackberry Hall," and the lot upon which it stood, 
and the garden lot, all for the sum of sixty dollars for one year. Old 
" Blackberry Hall," it will be remembered, stood on the corner of 
Ehii and Third cross streets, now handsomely improved. It was 
called Blackberry from the great number of berries growing around it. 

On the third day of August, 1814, Richard Henderson died and 
his place was filled by the election of Walter Alves. Dr. Adam Ran- 
kin and William R. Bowen contracted with the Board to furnish wood 
to the Academy during the winter at one dollar per cord. 

January 31st, 1815, an act of the Legislature was passed in 
creasing the number of trustees to seven, and at a meeting of the 
Board pursuant to the act the following were elected : John Hollo- 
way, General Samuel Hopkins, Obadiah Smith, Samuel Woodson, 
Samuel Casey and James M. Hamilton. Rev. James McGready, the 
great revivalist of 1800, was unanimously elected a member of the 

Lands had been located under the act in Hopkins County and a 
school house had been built on the Seminary ground in the town of 
Henderson. All things were now working as the trustees wanted. 
At a meeting of the Board, May 17th, 1815, the finance committee 
were instructed to report the best mode of increasing, and the pro- 
priety of selling, the Seminary lands. A committee was then ap- 
pointed to have seats and desks built for the accommodation of the 


pupils. The school had so grown that it was found necessary to em- 
ploy an usher or under teacher, and for this purpose Rev. Daniel 
Comfort was allowed $250, including board and tuition, for the pur- 
pose of employing . an usher or under teacher. The rules for the 
government of the school were very strict. Rule No. 7 was as fol- 
lows : 

" Reverence and obedience to teachers are the first duties of all students. 
A strict observance of decency and politeness in their deportment toward 
each other, as well as toward all other persons. Every species ot gaining, 
drunkenness, frequenting disorderly or immoral houses, keeping bad company, 
being found in unlawful assemblages, profane swearing, or bad or immoral 
conduct of any and every kind, is strictly and absolutely forbidden." 

There were a great number of pupils, and it seems that the ma- 
jority of them were credit pupils. Certain it was the Board, in the 
latter part of 1815, found itself in debt, and not only in debt, but in- 
volved in a serious unpleasantness with the principal, Rev. Daniel 

The tuition accounts were placed in the hands of the Sheriff for 
collection, and for the time being the Trustees had to individually pay 
off the then outstanding debts. On the 29th day of March, 1816, 
the Board discharged Mr. Comfort and directed the President, Dr. 
Rankin, to employ counsel and immediately institute suit against him 
for a breach of the contract entered into on July 10th, 1815. James 
M. Hamilton, Clerk of the Board, made the following laconic note at 
the close of this meeting : "The end of Daniel Comfort's reign in 
Henderson Academy." 

From the very beginning it appears that the Board and Rev. 
Daniel Comfort failed to get along as smoothly as the necessity of 
the case demanded, and, as a necessary consequence, the influence 
of the school was impaired. Trustees became dissatisfied and re- 
signed one after another, and eventually, as we shall see, the school, 
as an institute of learning, ceased to exist. There can be no doubt 
entertained of the great good brought to society, and the community 
at large, in the work of the trustees, and really, through their untir- 
ing labors and liberality, a good school was established and taught 
for many years. There was an outside trouble existing between the 
Board and Mr. Comfort, of which the records hint, but furnish no 
explanatory satisfaction. 

On the third day of September, 1817, Elisha N. Plumb, of Phil- 
adelphia, was employed at a salary of $600 to take charge of the 
the Academy. 


The Trustees were getting deeper and deeper in debt every day, 
and how to remedy matters was a question difficult of solution. Elisha 
N. Plumb had arrived from Philadelphia and his traveling expenses 
amounted to $59.93. This amount had to be raised by the Trustees, 
and so it was all along the line. It wa» proposed to sell the Academy 
grounds. Then, again, the Legislature was asked to pass a law au- 
thorizing the Trustees to raise a sum not exceeding $3,000 by lottery. 
This the Legislature did, but the lottery never materialized. Francis 
E. Walker, Robert Speed, James Wilson and Robert B. Streshly were 
appointed to superintend the lottery, but from some unknown cause 
the scheme was abandoned. Robert Terry preferred charges against 
Mr. Plumb for expelling a scholar without authority, and again for 
immoderate correction. The Board adjudged Mr. Plumb guilty, and 
directed that only switches should be used in correcting scholars. 

On the first day of March Mr. Plumb vacated and on May 14th 
Rev. D. C. Banks took charge as principal of the Academy, 
and the number of pupils limited to forty. Payments had become 
more prompt and the number of pupils increased. It was now de- 
termined to employ an assistant to Mr." Banks, and on the twentieth 
day of April, 1822, a contract was entered into with Mr. Banks, as 
principal, and Miss C. Selliman, as assistant, at and for the sum of 
$1,200, with the understanding that Miss Selliman would take charge 
of the female pupils in a separate room, under the general superin- 
tendence of the Trustees and the principal. It was then ordered that 
the price per session for female pupils be fixed at eight dollars and 
the number limited to twenty. 

Rev. Banks taught up to January 1st, 1823, when Rev. Henry 
Gratton was employed as principal. Mr. Gratton's health failed him, 
and on the sixth day of February, 1820, he resigned. Thereupon a 
contract was effected with Captain Francis E. Walker, with a curious 
proviso. It was resolved by the Board that in place of the usual va- 
cations allowed by the rules that Captain Walker (who was a lawyer) 
be permitted to take the time required by the sessions of the several 
courts beyond the usual vacations. It was then ordered that sixteen 
weeks' tuition should be considered as completing a session of the 
school. Prior to February 27th, 1824, the Seminary building had 
been used by any religious denomination desiring to hold services. 
Upon one occasion, it is said that the door of the building was unin- 
tentionally locked again'st a certain congregation which had assembled 
for worship. Captain Daniel McBride, a Christian man and at one 
time a trustee, seeing this, applied the heel of his unqualified brogan, 


and without the use q^ magical words, bolts, hasps and fastenings 
flew in every direction. The parson at the head of his flock immedi- 
ately entered, and in a few moments was feeding his lambs upon such 
spiritual food as he was able to^'command from his limited acquaint- 
ance with the holy book. Without pretending to know positively, it 
may be inferred, however, that from this proceeding emanated the 
following : 

'' Resolved y That after the first of April next, religious societies of any 
kind be prohibited from holding their meetings in the Academy without the 
consent of the Board of Trustees. 

''That Captain Smith, Captain F. E. Walker, James Alves and Robert 
Speed be appointed a committee to have the door of the Seminary thoroughly 
repaired, a good lock put on it, and such other repairs made as to them may 
seem necessary and practicable." 

Captain Walker gave up the school at the end of his first year 
and from that time there was never another teacher employed by the 
Trustees. August 21st, 1824, Rev. Azra Lee was granted the use of 
the Academy for a short time. February 19th, 1825, the Board 
turned over to James Hillyerthe globes and tables in part payment of 
a debt due him. A committee was then appointed to settle all out- 
standing claims against the Board. 

On the twenty-fifth of February, 1826, the Academy was let free 
for one year to George Gayle, provided he would organize a school. 
Mr. Gayle taught for three years, when the building was let to a Mr. 
Endicott On the twenty-second day of October, 1838, Edmund L. 
Starling, William Rankin, Daniel H. Deacon, Wyatt H. Ingram, John 
G. Holloway and Thos. Towles, Jr., were appointed Trustees. A 
number of land warrants, calling for hundreds of acres of land had 
been located in Hopkins County and no attention whatever had been 
given this liberal donation from the State. The new Trustees above 
named, took the matter in hand and appointed Thomas Towles, Jr., 
a committee to make provisional arrangement with Ambrose G. Gor- 
don to preserve the lands belonging to the Seminary and lying in 
Hopkins County. 

On the twenty-fifth day of February, 1839, Robert Speed was ap- 
pointed to superintend the Seminary lands, with authority to sell at the 
best price, taking care to sell in such quantities and such shape as 
would leave no refuse lands, and at the same time bring the best 
price. On the twentieth day of November, 1839, Ambrose G. Gor- 
don was appointed in place of Speed with the same instructions. 



July 18th, 1840, John McCullagh was permitted to take possession 
of the Seminary building as the tenant of the Board. He occupied 
it for three years. July 12th, 1843, the Board took possession of the 
building and directed a committee to examine the same and report 
any necessary repairs, and to devise a plan for the reorganization of 
the Academy. Edmund H. Hopkins, from the committee reported a 
plan which was tabled by a large majority and that was the last of 
the Academy. 

From June, 1814, to July, 1843, the Trustees, without the hope 
of pecuniary fee, managed this property, keeping a good school and fre- 
quently paying out of their own pockets amounts necessary to keep it 
from surrendering to the inevitable fate of all institutions without money. 
A large majority of our oldest citizens were educated at the old 
Seminary, and very many yet considered young men learned the 
primary branches in that school. 

A debt of gratitude is due to those old men, who toiled and self- 
sacrificed for the good of the youths of the town and surrounding 
country, which can never be paid, for they ha^^e gone never to return. 
No school was taught after the reign of Mr. McCullagh, at least so 
far as the Trustees were concerned. The record of the school was a 
high one, and perhaps no institution was ever better managed or 
more closely guarded in all of its important points. 

On the eleventh day of June, 1853, the Trustees leased the Sem- 
inary lot to D. R. Burbank for $15 per annum. June 10th, 1854, the 
power of attorney given Ambrose Gordon, of Hopkins County, was 
revoked and Henry J. Eastin appointed agent of the Board, with 
power to investigate the landed interest, but more especially the coal 
interest in Hopkins County, and to settle with Mr. Gordon for lands 
sold by him. From this time on to 1868 the Board of Trustees were 
as vigilant as possible, yet with all their watchfulness land sharks 
and timber thieves continued to annoy them. A large number of 
acres had been sold, and in many instances to worthless parties. Suits 
had to be instituted and the lands reclaimed. The expense of this 
litigation and the expense of an agent and surveyor continually 
watching squatters and unscrupulous settlers, was necessarily heavy, 
and not until after the war were the lands considered valuable. 

On the tenth of April, 1868, William Rankin, former Treasurer 
of the Board, tendered his report of moneys and notes on hand. The 
following is a copy : 


Cash on hand ^ 259^33 

Note on John O. Cheaney, principal ' <j37 20 

Note on Lsham Cottingham, Commissioner Henderson County, 

,, Principal ^ ' 74500 

Note on F. E. Walker, principal 2 380 00 

Note on Barnard & Jenkins, principal 1 '200 00 

'^°^^^ $4,721 53 

Mr. Rankin was succeeded in 1868 by Hon. Henry F. Turner, 
and on the twenty-first day of January, 1871, he, as Treasurer, tend- 
ered the following report : 

Balance in money in his hands $2 932 78 

J. O Cheany, one note dated May 11th, 1864 500 00 

Same, one note dated March 13th, 1865 637 20 

N. H. Barnard & Co., one note dated December 14th, 1866 1,200 00 

^^^^^ $5,269 98 

On the fifteenth day of March, 1869, the Henderson High School 
was incorporated, and on the same day an act to organize and estab- 
lish a system of public schools in Henderson was passed. Section 
fifteen of the act, so far as the same refers to the Henderson Aca- 
demy is here given : 

" The Mayor and Common Council of the City of Henderson shall pro- 
vide the funds for building the school houses and paying all expenses of said 
public schools, and for that purpose an act entitled an act to establish an 
' Academy ' in the town of Henderson, in Henderson County, and the several 
acts amendatory thereof be and they are hereby repealed, and that all the 
property, money, rights and credits of the said Henderson Academy be and 
they are hereby vested in the Board of Trustees created by this act, and the 
said Board of Trustees are authorized to sell and convey all the real estate and 
interest therein thus transferred to them and apply the proceeds thereof, and 
also any money or credits now held by said academy or belonging to it. and 
any money otherwise provided by this act to the erection of school houses in 
the City of Henderson." 

In obedience to this act, on the twenty-first day of January, 1871 
the Treasurer was directed to pay over to the Trustees of the Henderson 
High School all