Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The History of Lyon County Kentucky - Part 9

[I’m now up to page nine of the special section. This is a page of five pictures, titled “The Streets of Kuttawa”. 1) “Governor Charles Anderson was instrumental in planning of the city of Kuttawa and its streets. According to historian Odell Walker, Anderson reportedly told the survey crews to widen the streets because “I don’t expect that people will always use horses and I want these streets wide enough for whatever type o f transportation is used in the future.” The picture shows a white haired man with a white mustache and thin, white, long beard. 2) “In the 1950’s, everyone who was anyone went to the Kuttawa Café or Wiseman’s. Wiseman’s connected to the pool room next door where jukeboxes played the rock and roll of the time.” This is a street picture which includes the Kuttawa Café. 3) “Crowds gathered on Saturdays to win silver dollars or to hear political speakers.” This is a picture of a wide street totally packed with people and cars. 4) A street scene of “near the old school where the divided highway begins in old Kuttawa”.

Rose Hill – The Cobb House
By Odell Walker

[This story includes a picture of Rose Hill]

Gideon Dyer Cobb and his wife, Modena, and several other families came to Eddyville with Matthew Lyon in 1801. His wife, Modena, was a granddaughter of Thomas Chittenden, the first governor of Vermont. She was also a niece of Mrs. Matthew Lyon. [a note from Debbie: I am a descendant of Mrs Matthew Lyon. Beulah Chittenden first married Elijah Galusha. I am descended from their son Elijah Galusha. After the death of her husband, Beulah married Matthew Lyon.]

Very soon after arrival, Gideon Dyer Cobb was angaged in several business activities in the new town of Eddyville. He operated a hotel and tavern, a ferry, a store, and had warehouses on the bank of the Cumberland River where he received all kinds of products to be shipped to New Orleans.

The Eddyville Furnace located near Kuttawa Springs was operated by the Cobb family during the 1830’s and 1840’s, and later sold to William Kelly.

Robert Livingston Cobb, one of the sons of Gideon Dyer Cobb and Modena Cobb, also became a successful businessman in Eddyville. Robert Livingston Cobb was the grandfather of Irvin S. Cobb, the famous journalist, humorist and writer.

About 1832, Robert Livingston Cobb built a house in Eddyville which still stands, and today houses the Lyon County Museum. The house stands across the street from the Eddyville State Penitentiary which overlooks Barkley Lake.

In 1844, ownership of the house went to Thomas Washington Catlett. From 1866 to 1897 the house was owned by Fredrick W Skinner and his wife, Helen. Fredrick W Skinner was a grandson of Matthew Lyon, and his wife, Helen, was the daughter of Thomas Washington Catlett.

From 1897 to 1942, the house was owned by Belle Pinner Hussey and her husband, Dr. J. H. Hussey. Belle Pinner Hussey was a granddaughter of Thomas Washington Catlett.

The Husseys lived in the house and Dr. Hussey conducted his medical practice there also. In 1942, the house went to James H. Hussey and his wife, Bess Hussey. James H Hussey was a great-grandson of Thomas Washington Catlett.

Bess C. Hussey taught school at Eddyville for several years. The above information shows that the ownership of the house remained in the family from the time it was constructed in 1832 until 1952.

In 1952, the house was purchased by the State of Kentucky and became housing for employees of the Kentucky State Penitentiary.

In 1891 [sic – 1981], the house was declared surplus property and plans were underway for its destruction. The Lyon County Historical Society made a plea for the house to be preserved because of is age and historical significance. The State of Kentucky gave the house to the Lyon County Historical Society to be used as a museum. The house is on the Federal Register of Historic Places.

In those days most of the mansions were named. The Historical Society has copies of old letters written by members of the family as far back as 100 years and the old letters refer to this house as “Rose Hill”.

The people who lived at Rose Hill from 1832 until 1952 were people of economic, social, political and professional stature. Many business plans were discussed and finalized in the parlor of this old house. Political discussions and plans originated here that affected both state and local politics. Social events were held that filled all the rooms with laughter.

In 1981 when the house was given to the Historical Society, it was in a poor state of repair, almost in shambles. A small number of dedicated, determined and hard working people gave many hours of free labor and professional skill in restoring an old house as near as possible to its original state.

The old house has been preserved for future generations. Many items of Lyon County history are also preserved inside the old house which is now home to the “Lyon County Museum”.

The parlor has been restored with period furniture to represent the time period that the house was in its heyday. There is one piece of furniture, a sideboard, which belonged to the Cobb family when they moved into the new house.

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