Sunday, May 18, 2008

A Fun Day

I taught my class on "Getting Started in Genealogy" again today. It's always such fun to meet people who are just getting into it. It's also hard to see the look in their eyes at the overwhelming information I'm trying to give them. Usually, by the end of the class they're a little more relieved and ready to get started on the search. There are so many things you need to know to get started, but it's hard to break it down into smaller bites.

It was also fun because my daughter attended the class today too. She did a good job of acting as my "control". Many times a speaker will "assume" that the class knows something. My daughter would stop me and ask a question that she knew the audience might have, but were too shy to ask. This class did get pretty good at asking questions though. Thanks Riley.

I guess I now need to get ready for my next genealogy adventure: the week long class at Samford in Birmingham. My daughter will be taking a genealogy class there at the same time too. More fun. All these things "light the fire" of fun for genealogy again.

What a beautiful spring day. Hope everyone is enjoying it.
Still looking for that project for the blog....

Thursday, May 15, 2008

What's Going on This Week

Since I've started back to work full time, it's been a bit hectic. I used to juggle three kids, a job in which I travelled all the time, a husband working full time, housework, all the sports that all three kids could muster and still have time to see a movie every now and then. I'm much older, with all the kids out of the house, someone I pay to clean my house and I'm finding this working thing exhausting!! Middle age indeed.....

Our youngest is home for a week from college. She still seems to live all over the house. We get so used to having things our way that it's a bit of a shock to the system to have the kids back in the nest, even for a short time. Nice, but a shock. Tomorrow is the birthday of our middle son, and the weekend before last we drove to St Louis to see our oldest, his wife and our two grandchildren.

In a few weeks I'll be attending a week long genealogy class at Samford in Birmingham. That should be fun. This week I'm being interviewed, along with a couple of others from our Tennessee Genealogical Society, on a radio show, about technology in genealogy. Also this week, I'm giving my "Getting Started in Genealogy" lecture again at the Tennessee Genealogical Society. I guess I'm not sitting in that rocking chair yet!!

I'm still working on my next project for this blog, so don't stop reading yet. Any suggestions are appreciated.

Have a great day.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The History of Lyon County Kentucky - Part 19 (FINAL)

This is the final entry in the Lyon County History series.

The Smith House
By Bill Young

[Pictures: 1) “A view of the author’s home from earlier years.” 2) “Young’s house as it looks today”. ]

Known more recently as the Bessie Hobson House and prior to that as the Annie Eades Collins House, the residence now owned by Lyon County Attorney Bill Young, located on Fifth Street in Old Kuttawa, was originally built by John L. Smith in 1900.

A brief biography of Mr. Smith and a picture of the house as it originally appeared is featured on page 27 in the “Tale of Two Cities” which was published originally in 1901 and most recently reprinted by the Lyon County Historical Society.

According to the biography, “Mr. Smith is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, holding his membership at Mt. Pisgah, near Star Limeworks, where he has liberally contributed to the gospel cause and the building of the magnificent new house that now adorns the old site in the beautiful grove of native sugar maples… the other members of family reside with Mr. Smith in his neat home in Kuttawa, which is the proceeds of many years of diligent labor and economic expenditures.”

Mr. Smith was a leader in the Democratic party and also served as Lyon County Sheriff.

Annie Eades, later Annie Eades Collins, acquired the property in 1928, from her father, William Eades, who had purchased the residence in 1908. Bessie Hobson acquired the property from Annie Eades Collins by a deed dated Sept 28, 1945, but didn’t occupy the residence until the early 1950s.

Bill Young acquired the property in 1977.

According to Ann Matthews, daughter of Annie Eades Collins, her grandfather, William Eades, was known for hosting many “house parties” and the residence, with all its porches on both levels lit up at night, gave the appearance of a steamship when viewed from a distance by oncoming steamers on the Cumberland River.

According to Mrs. Matthews, who now resides in Amarillo, Texas, her mother, Annie Collins, modified the house shortly after she acquired it in 1928, removing the upper porch in the front of the house as well as the lower porch on the side of the house. She also added central heat, replacing all the fireplaces and grates as the primary source of heat.

The residence was completely remodeled after Young acquired it.

Adele Ethridge, daughter of Bessie Hobson, now esides in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

[This takes us to the final page of the newspaper supplement, which contains five pictures: 1) “The La Clede Hotel in Eddyville is where the famed musician of the late 1800s, Jinny Lind, also known as the ‘Swedish Singing Nightingale’ performed.” 2) “One of the old tobacco companies burned by the Night Riders in 1907.”, 3) “A view of the old railroad depot in old Eddyville.”, 4) “The old Lyon County Junior High in Eddyville.”, 5) “The streets of old Eddyville looking toward the prison.”]

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this information as much as I did when it was first published. Now I’m looking for my next project…..


Friday, May 9, 2008

The History of Lyon County Kentucky - Part 18

Parkersville Lodge
By Dale Hayhugh

[picture: “Parkersville Lodge as it looks today”.]

Parkersville Lodge #484 was organized on Nov 7, 1868. The lodge had its beginnings in 1867 with lands donated by J.M. Early and Levi Jones of 7/8th acre each. A two-story building was started immediately and completed in the fall of 1868. This was a frame building with yellow popular weather boarding and plaster and wallpaper inside. The building was occupied at once with Masons upstairs and a community grade school downstairs.

The school was to be known as Parkersville Academy (a private grade school) with a most enviable reputation and sought after place of learning, with attendance reaching 165 pupils and numbering among its alumni doctors, lawyers and educations of some renown.

The lodge began with 12 masons who were residents of the community but members of several neighboring lodges. These men demitted and under the auspices of Clinton Lodge, with John McLin as proxy and Grand Master in charge, organized Parkersville #484.

The first officers were as follows:
Robert P Smith – WM
J.P. Smith – SW
R.P. Hollowell – JW
J.B. Ramey – Treasurer
J.M. Early – Secretary
N.N. Rice – SD
Thomas Wynn – JD
Jeff Chambers – S&T

Brethren were J.W. Hanberry, J.S. Hollowell, W.H. Harris and F.R. Smith. Also seeking membership with demits pending were J.S. Howard, J.E. Howard, J.E. McCarty, J.B. Kevil and W.M. Johnson.

The first masons to be initiated were R.B. McNary and John J. Nall (better known as Professor Nall), a most charismatic and scholarly man, and the first teacher at Parkersville Academy.

The third man initiated was J.W. Vinson, the father of Judge Jim Vinson and father-in-law to Lewis Lincoln who was to be a member of this lodge and went on to become a prominent newspaperman in Kansas City.

The new lodge held 18 meetings the first year and enjoyed visitors at every meeting beginning in November 1868 to March 1870.

Remembering the only mode of transportation in those days being horse or horse-drawn, tells us something of the dedication and zeal of our forefathers.

The lodge building was located on a lot where the present building and/or the Johnny Thompson residence is now situated, but facing east rather than north like the present building. It was thought to be about the size of our present lodge building.

In 1871, a Baptist church, known as the United Baptist Church, was organized and a building constructed on a lot adjacent to the Masonic/school building. This building fronted toward the north (the same as Johnny Thompson’s house and/or school building) and located a few feet east and south of where Johnny’s shop is now. The upstairs of this building was later to become the second home of Parkersville Lodge.

A few years later, circa 1880, a Methodist congregation was organized. They met in the lodge/school building until 1888 when they built a church later to belong to the Baptist and where the Baptist church recreation building is now located.

My birthplace (where our present church is located) was the Methodist parsonage.

In April of 1871 the first Masonics Widows and Orphans Home in the world was opened in Louisville. In 1902, the Old Masons Home was built with this lodge sending a donation of 50 cents per member.

The Parkersville lodge/school building was the forum for most social activities of the community. Some of the activities were plays, fiddler’s contests, debates, political speeches, traveling shows, etc.

By the early 1900s, the county had taken over the trusteeship of the county schools and the building was needing repairs.

In 1908, the lodge had the opportunity to purchase the upstairs over the Baptist church. This room was owned by C.C. Butts, a local merchant, and was in an unfinished state. The ½ interest in the church building was bought for the sum of $200. Work was begun at once to complete the upstairs plus extending the second floor by eight feet, this providing a porch or canopy for the church and an outside stairwell and ante room for the lodge. The lodge, having insufficient funds, borrowed $250 from Robert Parker (the first Master) to pay for construction.

The Woodmen of the World organized in 1907 and was allowed the use of the Masonic hall for the sum of 50 cents a meeting with lights furnished.

In February, 1909, when the masons moved to the newly renovated upstairs over the Baptist church, the original building over the school was sold to the Woodmen of the World for the sum of $70.

In May 1910, the lodge upstairs building was insured for an annual fee of $27.20. In May 1914, the flue was moved from the center to the side of the building at a cost of $20. In June 1914, Lewis Lincoln was asked to ascertain if the insurance on the building was good and legal. In 1915, an Eastern Star Chapter was formed and was granted permission to use the lodge hall at no cost. In May 1916, Vinson and Co. of Cadiz notified the lodge that the insurance was expired. It was renewed immediately.

In June 1916, a fire of unknown origin destroyed the church and lodge building. Our past generosity to the Woodmen of the World was reciprocated by their allowing us to use the old and original building to hold our meetings.

In September, 1916 we met and offered to share the cost of a new building with the Baptist. The church opted rather to buy from the Methodists, whose numbers were down. The building purchased stood across from our present lodge and was recently torn down.

In October, 1916, a committee was elected and authorized to purchase a suitable building site. This committee was composed of Dennie Mayhugh, W.H. Tandy and Albert Gresham. They were offered a lot across from the old public well belonging to L.L. Rogers for $100, or the Rice and Cummins Tobacco property for $250. They chose the later, since it had a warehouse and goodly amount of salvageable lumber. This property belonged to a Grimmer family of Paducah and formerly of Lamasco.

In December, 1916, the lodge accepted Young and Co. of Princeton low bid of $1,064.50 for a two-story frame building 30 foot ceilings downstairs, a 9-foot ceiling upstairs, a galvanized flue, a lock and key job, with the lodge furnishing all the rough lumber, foundation rock, etc. All first class material was used except for the floor which would be #1 common. The above description of the building was taken from a committee report.

After a few changes, including an additional outside door, the bill of Young and Company came to $1,113.70. Other cost was as follows: chairs, $21.40; desk, $14; stove and pipe, $17; and to C.W. Mayhugh for making the altar, arch, warden stations, etc. $20.

The old building that burned had $700 of insurance coverage but after paying our indebtedness to Robert Parker (money borrowed in 1909 to pay for fixing lodge hall over church) we had $428.79. We borrowed $700 from First National Bank in Princeton. They deducted interest which left us with $666 and we borrowed $5 from M.P. P’Pool to pay the indebtedness on the new building.

When the new building was thought ready to occupy, we remembered we had not provided for lights. Typically, those attending regularly stated donating until the $17.50 for gas lights was paid for.

The new hall was dedicated on Nov. 24, 1917. The lodge opened on M M Degree in the old and original hall (now the WOW building) and marched in solemn procession to the new lodge where (according to minutes) “the 4th Degree was conferred in the form of a good supper and served at the new hall and enjoyed by all”.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The History of Lyon County Kentucky - Part 17

The O’Daniel House
By Odell Walker

[Picture of the O’Daniel House]

The O’Daniel residence is a stately old farmhouse located in the Oak Grove Loop Road, in the Oak Grove Community of Lyon County.

Ninian Edwards of Elkton (1775-1833) was a land promoter and speculator. He held land grants in many counties throughout western Kentucky. Ninian Edwards took a 400 acre land grant May 18, 1800 in Livingston County. Present day Lyon Count was a part of Livingston County at that time.

This land was located in the watershed of Skinframe Creek. Ninian Edwards transferred this land to a relative, Elisha B. Edwards, who held it until his death in 1850.

Ninian Edwards moved to Illinois and was a distinguished leader in early history of that state. He served as the first governor of the Territory of Illinois (1809-1818) and he led in forming companies of volunteers for defense against the Indians. He served as one of the first U.S. Senators from Illinois (1818-1824) and as governor (1826-1830)

Following the death of Elisha B. Edwards in 1850, the property was sold by theheirs.

Caleb Stone bought 200 acres of the original land grant. Over the years, Caleb Stone bought additional acreage until he had a total of 470 acres.

Calbe Stone was born in 1826 in the New Bethel community of present day Lyon County, the son of Leasil Stone and Nancy Killen. Caleb was a brother of the Honorable William J. Stone of Civil War fame and a member of Congress from the First Congressional District of Kentucky.

Caleb Stone married Lucy Cruce of Crittenden County in 1849. Caleb and Lucy Stone built the first phase of the house in the early 1850s, which consisted of two large log rooms. Over the years, additions and renovations have been made to the house.

For 50 years, Caleb Stone was recognized as a leader in up-to-date progressive farming. He raised prized thoroughbred livestock and had a premium short horn bull valued at $800. A picture of the bull was on exhibition at the New Orleans World Fair of 1885. He also had a large orchard of selected, choice varieties of fruit.

On Oct 1, 1904, Caleb Stone, following the death of his wife, sold his beloved house and farm to H. H. Holeman of Hopkins County.

In the following years, until 1919, the farm changed ownership five times. It is interesting to note that once the farm was sold two times the same day.

In September 1919, Leslie H. Doom and L. H. Doom Jr and his wife, Sudie, sold the farm and house to James Watkins (Watt) O’Daniel and his wife, Myrtle, of Gilbertsville. Watt O’Daniel had sold a farm on the Tennessee River near Gilbertsville, in Marshall County and purchased the Lyon County farm.

All of the O’Daniel belongings, including the livestock, were loaded on a train at Gilbertsville. The family and all of their things came by train to Fredonia. Watt O’Daniel hired a surrey and driver from the T.O. Ordway livery stable to take Myrtle and the children to their new home over the dirt roads.

Three of Watt’s new neighbors, Charley Stone, Raymond Patton and Omar Patton met the train with wagons to haul their things to the new farm. The livestock were driven over the road to the farm.

Watt and Myrtle O’Daniel had four children: Almerine who married Ted McNeely, Mabel who married Kelly Sutton, James and Laurelle. Almerine and James are deceased.

Laurelle presently resides at the stately old homeplace and carries on the family tradition of farming on a smaller scale.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The History of Lyon County Kentucky - Part 16

Cobb’s Battery
By Glenn Martin

[Picture: “The Cobb’s Battery Monument”]

Cobb’s Battery was organized at Kuttawa Springs in the spring of 1861.

Hylan B. Lyon, an officer in the U.S. Army, had resigned his commission and returned to Lyon County. Here he was the most prominent one in the organization of Cobb’s Battery and was its first Commander. The unit went to Camp Boone for its training. They were furnished with field pieces by the Confederate government.

The men of Cobb’s Battery got their first major engagement at the battle of Shiloh, which took place April 6 and 7, 1862. Here they were hit very hard. They lost all of their horses and had 37 men wounded.

Hylan B. Lyon had been transferred to a higher position in the Kentucky Brigade, so Robert Cobb was in command of the battery until later he also was transferred up in the brigade.

The next major engagement for Cobb’s Battery was at Baton Rouge, La. In August of 1862. Here the battery was hit very hard with damage to their field pieces and some loss of men. After this, the Brigade went on a long trip, overland march to Mobile, then by riverboat to Montgomery and onto trains that took them on north to help, they thought, General Braxton Bragg in Kentucky. But the situation changed before they got to Kentucky, and they never got there. Their next engagement was at Hartsville. This engagement was not a big affair, but Cobb’s Battery was a vital part thereof. This Hartsville engagement took place Dec 9, 1862.

Their next major engagement was at Stone River in Middle Tennessee. This battle took place the last two days of December, 1862. This battle took its toll not only from the action of battle, but from extreme cold weather. Cobb’s Battery, along with other units of the Kentucky Brigade, were put in a very bad position and took a very hard hit from the enemy.

Next big engagement was at Chickouga for Cobb’s Battery. This took place Sept 19 and 20, 1863. Here Cobb’s Battery also took a real beating.

The spring of 1864 saw the beginnings of Sherman’s push toward Atlanta and the sea. Cobb’s Battery, now under the command of Lieutenant Frank Gracey was involved in the defense and overall was hard hit. By the time the fighting had reached Atlanta, Cobb’s Battery was so depleted that there is very little mention of it in reports – so ended this saga with many of the beginning characters buried in several places scattered across the south.

In 1933, the Stone-Gracey Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy erected the monument at the Kuttawa Springs honoring Cobb’s Battery. The unit was made up primarily of local men.

Dewey One Room School
By Odell Walker

[Picture: “Dewey One Room School in the southern end of the county.”]

Dewey one-room school house stands as a silent reminder that in a bygone day, forty such school houses dotted Lyon County from one side of the county to the other.

Before the development of the automobile, the only means of travel in rural Lyon County was to walk, ride a horse, or go in a buggy or wagon. The dirt roads consisted of mud during the winter and dust during the summer.

Under those conditions, it was impossible to have large consolidated schools as they exist today. To make education available, it was necessary to take education to where the children were; thus, the local one room school era came into existence and served the county well for a hundred years or longer.

The state had a goal to place a school within one mile walking distance of every student in the state. This goal was never achieved, but they came very close.

The one room school was more than a center for education. It was a community center that served the educational, social, cultural, religious and political needs of the area. Fund raising events, such as pie suppers and box suppers were often held at the school house. Plays, fiddling contests and other kinds of entertainment were held at the local schools. Those candidates running for political office, especially those on the local level, sometimes published a schedule in the local paper announcing the date and time that they would be at local schools.

The advent of the automobile and school bus, plus improved roads, has transformed education in Lyon County from many one-room schools into one central location.

The picture of Dewey one-room school house appears to have a forlorn and sad look because there are no children running, hopping, skipping, talking and laughing around the building.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The History of Lyon County Kentucky - Part 15

The Kelly Kettle
By Odell Walker

[A picture of the historical marker with a larger iron kettle is shown on page. ]

William Kelly was born in 1811 near Pittsburgh of Irish Immigrant parents, John and Elizabeth Kelly. William had training in the iron industry; however, he and some of his family were in the dry goods and riverboat shipping business at Pittsburgh. They owned a warehouse on the wharf.

In the spring of 1845, William Kelly was in Nashville on a buying trip for the family business. While in Nashville, he met Mildred Gracey at a graduation exercise at a girls finishing school. Mildred Gracey was the daughter of J.N. Gracey, a wealthy tobacco merchant and steamboat line owner of Eddyville, Ky.

After a short courtship, William and Mildred were married and decided to make their home at Eddyville. With finances arranged primarily by his father-in-law, William Kelly was joined by his brother, John, from Pittsburgh, and they went into the iron business in Lyon County.

They purchased the old Eddyville Furnace located near the Kuttawa Springs from the Cobb family. Their next venture was the construction of the Suwanee Furnace.

From 1847 to 1857, William Kelly experimented with what he called the “Pneumatic Process” for making steel, which later became known as the Bessemer Process. In 1857 at his Suwanee Furnace, William Kelly demonstrated his process before a large gathering of iron-masters. Molten pig or cast iron was placed in an egg shaped barrel that was on a pivot.

Kelly forced a blast of cold air into the base of the converter. When the combustion and burning process ended, the convertor was tilted and the molten metal was poured into molds to cool. This process proved a faster and cheaper way to make steel and moved the world from the iron age to the steel age. The device used by William Kelly became known as the “Kelly Converter” and is now housed in the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

In 1846-47 William Kelly built the New Union Forge at the present site of Old Kuttawa on the Cumberland River. At this facility, thousands of cast iron kettles were manufactured and shipped to Louisiana and South American to be used in the refining of sugar. Many of these kettles were very large, measuring as much as 12 feet in diameter.

The picture is one of Kelly’s kettles that was placed on a pedestal and displayed in Silver Cliff Park for many years. When Kuttawa was relocated, the kettle was moved and now stands in the median between the streets of New Kuttawa.

Monday, May 5, 2008

The History of Lyon County Kentucky - Part 14

The Hawley House
By Odell Walker

[Picture for this story: “The Hawley House sits on the banks of the Cumberland River.”]

The Hawley House and farm sits on a hill overlooking the Cumberland River, a short distance from the Interstate 24 bridge.

The Hawley family came to this area from Vermont. In an 1825 deed, George and Elizabeth Hawley gave lands along the Cumberland River, in present day Lyon County, to their children. The children were James, Gideon, Malvenia, Elizabeth and Annise Long, wife of Thomas Long.

The house was built by James Hawley who was born in Vermont in 1808. He married Sarah Martin, also of Vermont, in 1834 in Caldwell County. At that time, Lyon County was still part of Caldwell County.

An exact date cannot be placed as to when the house was built, but all indications are that it was built in the 1840s. Slave labor was used to build the house from brick that was made on the site. According to legend, slaves that built the house were set free after the house was finished.

The original house consisted of two large rooms on the ground floor with a wide hall. The same rooms and hall existed on the second floor. There is a chimney at each end of the house and a fireplace in each room. The house was built on a hill with an overlook and beautiful view of the Cumberland River.

In 1878, a summer kitchen was being added to the house and the floor joists were installed and ready for the floor to be laid. Annise Mary Hawley, the nine year old daughter of Van B and Electa E Hawley, ran into the room and fell across the exposed floor joist. She died from the injury.

The children of James and Sarah Hawley were George W Martin Van Buren, Isaac M, Annise E, Mary E, David S and James Jr.

James Hawley died in 1853 of yellow fever and his wife, Sarah, died in 1879. They wre buried in a nearby cemetery, now destroyed. Since the death of Sarah Hawley in 1879, the house and farm has had several owners. The house and farm is presently owned by the Ernest Jones family.

The Skinner House
By Cindy Simpson

[A picture of the Skinner House is on this page.]

Tom and Cindy Simpson reside at 2030 Lake Barkley Drive in Old Kuttawa with their two children. They bought their home from Mrs. Tritt Jones in 1985. According to Mrs. Jones, the house was built in the late 1800s by Governor Charles Anderson as a gift for his daughter, Belle Anderson Skinner.

After moving from Ohio, Governor Anderson bought a large piece of land on the Cumberland River and laid out the the town of Kuttawa. (see related article) Governor Anderson built his daughter’s home across the street from his own home which stood where the park is now located.

The four bedroom home has been well maintained over the years and has had several owners. Mrs. Jones’ parents, A.J. and Julia Martin, once lived in the home. Mrs. Jones, who resides in Elkton, recalls coming in the back door one afternoon only to be whisked away by Secret Servicemen. Much to her surprise, Vice President Alben Barkley was speaking on the front porch.

Vice President Alben Barkley was speaking to a political group that had gathered in the street of Kuttawa. The front porch of the Skinner House was used as a temporary platform.

When Barkley was campaigning for an incumbent office holder he had a favorite expression, “We don’t need to swap horses in the middle of the stream and we don’t need to swap a racehorse for a Shetland pony”.

Mrs. Jones shared a dairy [sic-diary?] with the Simpsons that belonged to Governor Anderson’s daughter. The diary entries date back to 1904.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The History of Lyon County Kentucky - Part 13

The Battle of Saratoga
By Odell Walker

[The pictures on this page are 1) “Saratoga United Methodist Church still has the bullet holes to prove that the Battle of Saratoga took place there.” 2) a picture of the side of the church, where, after the new siding was installed on the church, in recent years, a square piece was framed, leaving a bullet hole, from the battle, visible in the original siding.]

In 1798, David Walker, the founder of Eddyville, appeared before the Christian County Court and made a request that a road be laid out from the Eddy Cabbins on the Cumberland River to Prince’s Place at the Big Spring.

The Eddy Cabbins was a campsite for river travelers at the mouth of Eddy Creek, and Prince’s Plcase was the home of William Prince, which later became Princeton.

Walker’s request was granted and the road followed the general corridor of present day Highway 293. The road was later referred to as the Princeton-Eddyville Turnpike. Before the impoundment of Lake Barklery, U.S. Highway 62 followed the same route to Old Eddyville and on to Old Kuttawa.

Approximately four miles east of the old town of Eddyville, on the above named road, was a large spring that flowed into Glass Creek.

When Matthew Lyon and his party arrived at Eddyville in 1802, Lyon’s stepson, Elisha Galusha, was assigned the land around this spring, and for many years, it was called Galusha Spring.

Because of the road, Galusha Springs became a favorite stopping place for travelers to get a drink of fresh water and water for their horses. Because of the level ground and plenty of shade, The Spring became a favorite place for picnics and other gatherings.

In 1822, the pioneer Methodist preacher, Benjamin Ogden, deeded a parcel of land to Reed’s Chapel or Reed’s Campground, upon which a log meeting house was erected.

By the 1850’s, a community had developed in the area consisting of a country store, post office and tavern.

According to legend, a group of young men and boys were looking for mischief one Halloween night. They had heard or read of Saratoga Springs, N.Y. They took a long plan and painted “Saratoga Springs” on it and nailed it over the door of the store. They thought this would make the store owner angry, but much to their surprise, when the owner arrived the next morning to open up, he liked the new name, and thus, the community became known as Saratoga Springs.

The name Reed’s Chapel was changed to Saratoga Methodist Church, and in 1859 a new frame church edifice replaced the original log building.

On Oct 15, 1861, a troop of Calvary was mustered into Confederate service at Hopkinsville. The unit became Company “G”, First Kentucky Calvary, and a majority of the members were from Lyon and Caldwell County.

Company “G” was placed under the command of Captain M.D. Wilcox and assigned for training at Saratoga Springs. The group had a double responsibility; first, they were engaged in military training; second, they were to serve as rangers or scouts to watch for the movement of federal troops overland. The area to be patrolled was from Cave-In-Rock, on the Ohio River, to Hopkinsville.

Saratoga Springs was an ideal location for a small group training camp with an abundance of water, both spring and creek, level land for military drills and nearby foothills for firewood.

The camp at Saratoga Springs was destined to be short-lived. On Sept 6, 1861, General U.S. Grant captured and took possession of Paducah. Brigadier General C F Smith was in command of the Union forces at Paducah and received intelligence of Captain Wilcox’s activities at Saratoga Springs.

On Oct 25, 1861, three full companies of Infantry consisting of 300 men were dispatched to Saratoga Springs. This group was under the command of Major Jesse J Phillips. At 4:30 p.m. the troops staged a parade for General Smith and were issued two days of rations. The troops boarded the steamer, “Lake Erie” and pulled away from the Paducah wharf, under the escort of the gunboat, “Conestoga”.

The boats steamed up the Ohio River to Smithland and turned into the Cumberland River. They continued upstream to a pre-selected landing at William Kelly’s New Union Forge. This site later became the town of Kuttawa.

Under the cover of darkness, the troops disembarked and marched northward to the area of the old Kuttawa Springs and continued north along Hammond Creek for a distance of about five miles. From this point, the troops traveled in a northeast semi-circle to the Eddyville-Princeton road to a point about a mile east of Saratoga Springs.

The success of the Saratoga raid depended on total surprise and this was accomplished by avoiding established roads and traveling through fields and woods. The Confederates at Saratoga Springs misjudged the plan of the Union Army. The Confederates anticipated that should an attack occur, the enemy would travel north on the Varmint Trace Road and turn east on the Liberty Church Road to Saratoga Springs. A watchman was stationed at Liberty Church, but this point was passed by the Union Soldiers.

The Union forces arrived on the Eddyville-Princeton road at about daybreak on the morning of the 26th, and at approximately 7 a.m. they went into formation to attack the Confederate Camp at Saratoga Springs.

The following is taken from Major Phillip’s official report of the battle: “Our skirmishers succeeded in surrounding and capturing the rebel pickets without firing a gun, and the advance of our troops was unsuspected by the rebels until we wheeled in column of platoon in the lane of full view, 600 yeards distant from their camp at about 7 a.m.

They, to the number of about 160 men, dismounted immediately formed in line, awaiting our attack until we advanced within 22 years of their line. We, when first coming in sight, having charged on them the double quick, they commenced an irregular fire when we were a distance of 300 yards, but at our approach broke for their horses, though many took shelter behind fences, trees or houses.

We charged within 50 yards, halted, delivered a volley, and then charged bayonet, driving them from the houses and from their places of cover, and they then fled in every direction, some on foot, others on horseback. An occasional firing was kept up for half an hour or more. Six of their men were left dead and one mortally wounded. Several others were seen to ride off clinging to their horses and were wounded”.

The Saratoga Methodist Church building still has bullet holes to attest to the battle.

The newly enlisted and untrained Confederate soldiers were no match for a well-trained and seasoned Union Army.

In the meantime, the steamers, Lake Erie and Conestoga, had moved up to Eddyville and docked, awaiting the arrival of the troops for the trip back to Paducah.

The Union Army took Confederate Contraband including 30 horses, several mules, 40 saddles, 30 bridles, harness, two wagons, 30 blankets, several rifles, shotguns, sabers, swords, etc.

The Union Army, with their contraband and several Confederate prisoners, marched on down the Eddyville-Princeton road from Saratoga Springs to Eddyville, boarded the waiting boats for the return trip to Paducah.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The History of Lyon County Kentucky - Part 12

Governor Charles Anderson
By Odell Walker

[Picture in this article: “Governor Anderson’s final resting place.” ]

The grave of Charles Anderson, located in the Kuttawa Cemetery, has a most unusual tombstone. It is made in the shape of a bed.

Charles Anderson, the youngest son of Richard Clough Anderson, was born June 1, 1814, at his father’s home, Soldier’s Retreat in Jefferson County, near Louisville. He attended Miami University of Oxford, Ohio, where he studied law. In 1834, he married Eliza Brown of Dayton, Ohio.

At the beginning of the War Between the States, he enlisted in the Union Army and was commissioned a Colonel. Anderson was wounded early in the war and resigned his commission.

He was Lt. Governor of Ohio in 1863. He became Governor a short time later upon the death of Governor Brough. After serving this term, Anderson retired from public life. Charles Anderson was Kentucky born and transplanted to Ohio where he had served as lawyer, politician, rancher, soldier, and finally Lt. Governor and Governor.

When his term in office ended, he had had enough of politics and was ready to return to private life. He learned that the furnace and land holdings of William Kelly were being sold to satisfy indebtedness. In 1866, most of the Kelly property was sold at public auction and Charles Anderson bought most of it.

Governor Anderson had a great appreciation and love for the natural beauties of nature. He was especially impressed by the forest, trees, wildflowers, hills, valleys, creeks, springs, rivers and rock formations.

Soon after his arrival in Lyon County, Governor Anderson began plans for his dream town. He personally supervised the surveying of the town.

Willis Hammond and Ambrose Martin were to young men who helped Governor Anderson lay out the town. A story is told that Hammond carried the surveyor’s chain and stopped at what he thought was sufficient for Oak Street. The Governor urged him on and when questioned about the extensive width, Anderson replied, “Young man, I don’t expect that people will always use horses and I want these streets wide enough for whatever type of transportation is used in the future”.

When the surveyors, engineers and draftsmen had finished their work and Charles Anderson had the plat before him, he named the town “Kuttawa”, which is an Indian name meaning “city in the woods”.

The town was chartered by the State Legislature in 1872.

Governor Anderson laid out five parks for his dream town. His pride and joy was Silver Cliff, 28 acres of grove on the bluff overlooking the river. In its prime, the park was neatly kept with flower beds, croquet greens, and a large expanse of well kept lawn. Governor and Mrs. Anderson had traveled extensively both at home and abroad, and brought back many trees not native to this area and planted them in Silver Cliff Park.

Governor and Mrs. Anderson spent the rest of their lives enjoying and promoting the town of Kuttawa.

Friday, May 2, 2008

The History of Lyon County Kentucky - Part 11

The Woodruff House
By Margaret Wilford

[This article contains a picture with the following caption: “The Woodruff House in old Kuttawa is now home to Eddie and Margaret Wilford who purchased and renovated it.”]

In 1921, Mr and Mrs Woodruff, Louis and Mary, rented a house from Preston Ordway which was to be their home for the rest of their lives. It was located at Lot 2, Block 4, on the north side of Oak Street, Kuttawa.

On Dec. 17, 1930, they purchased the 55-year old house and became the seventh owners. The present owners, Eddie and Margaret Wilford, bought the home from the Woodruff heirs on Aug. 20, 1992.

When the Wilfords bought the house, they did not know that the property had once belonged to Margaret (Bingham) Wilford’s great-great-grandfather John Bingham. Bingham acquired the house and lot from Governor Anderson on Oct. 8, 1885. Governor Anderson had sold the lot in 1875 to Robert Dulaney of Louisville, and his brother, Charles Dulaney of Clark County, Ill. Under grant terms and conditions.

The Dulaneys paid Governor Anderson $1 (one dollar) and agreed “to build a good and substantial commodious house and storehouses to be used and occupied by themselves” within six calendar months. The deed was recorded July 3, 1875.

Robert Dulaney kept the property until March 30, 1881, when Governor Anderson repurchased three parcels of land (Lots 1, 2, and 3) for $750. Governor Anderson then sold the property to John Bingham in 1885, and Bingham sold it to L. P. Holland of Cumberland City, Tenn. On Jan 14, 1893.

On March 29, 1893, Holland mortgaged the “dwelling, butcher shop and other improvements” for $400 at 6 percent interest.

Mr. Holland and his wife, Jaimie, received $500 cash from James T. Rice of Kuttawa on April 24, 1899. Mr. Rice owned the house until April 11, 1907, when it was sold to Preston Ordway. Louis Woodruff bought the property in 1930, and his wife, Mary Fleming Woodruff, inherited the home at Lot 2, Block 4, Oak Street, when he died in 1957. Mary Woodruff lived in and owned the home for another 35 years. She died in 1992 at the age of 97.

When the Woodruffs purchased the house, they made several changes, improvements and modernizations. In 1930, the house contained four large rooms and two porches. The Woodruffs added indoor plumbing, a bathroom and a closet on the south side. They enclosed the backporch and converted it into a sunporch where Mrs. Woodruff kept her plants.

One end of the porch was made into a large pantry. The kitchen where Dr. T. L. Phillips had removed Mrs. Woodruff’s tonsils in the 1920s was converted into a bedroom, and Mrs. Woodruff moved her kitchen into the adjoining room.

Ancient pipes found in floors of both “kitchens” verified this information. Still later, Mrs. Woodruff moved her kitchen into the pantry and converted her 1930 kitchen into a dining room. The house was wired for electricity during this time and the ceiling fixtures Mrs. Woodruff chose in 1930 were still there in 1992.

In the woodruff’s early days, the back lot (backyard) contained an outhouse and a combination chicken house and stable. These were located next to the alley as far up the mountain as possible. The Woodruffs had both horses and chickens.

In 1938, the Woodruffs decided to install a coal furnace which meant they now needed a basement. This basement was dug by hand with a pick and shovel by W. T. Moore and Mark Sexton. Mr. Moore, who lives in Lyon County, says that digging mountain gravel and carrying it out in buckets was no easy task.

When the Wilfords bought the house in 1992, it had been more than 60 years since the Woodruff renovations. Needed repairs, additions and modernizations were greatly facilitated because the original structure was extremely strong, sturdy and straight.

The original, beveled glass, oak front door was refinished by Eddie Wilford and is a focal point of the house. The stained glass windows and all other windows on the main level were kept. The 12-foot ceilings and most original transoms were retained. A new stained glass transom was added between the living and dining rooms.

Exterior transoms were placed above French doors which gave the house a light airy feeling. Golden oak hardwood floors, fluted wood work and an oak staircase leading to the second level were installed. The second level was originally an unfinished attic with a 12-foot ceiling. Brass chandeliers replaced the lighting installed in 1930. Central heat and air conditioning replaced the outdated caol furnace and window air conditioners.

The kitchen has been returned to its original location where Mrs. Woodruff’s tonsillectomy was performed. The back porch has been re-opened and a large deck has been erected on the upper level facing the mountain. The fron porch has been raised to two story level. The entrance has been further enhanced by four large Pillars which give the house a more stately appearance.

During the renovation process, Frank Wilford found an old brick labeled “Kuttawa Brick Works”. He also found a board in the dining room wall which had one of the earlier floor plans sketched on it. Encasing such sketches in walls was an earlier custom.

The old house on Lot 2, Block 4, Oak Street, Kuttawa, now with its eighth owners, Eddie and Margaret Wilford, has been given a new address for 911 purposes. It is currently listed as 1904 Lake Barkley Drive.

Anecdotal information was mainly provided by Mrs. Woodruff’s nephew, Charles Dunn, who lives in Claxton, Ga. Other anecdotal information was furnished by W. T. Moore of Lyon County, Mrs. Gladys Jones of Elkton and the house itself.

Documented information was obtained from deed and mortgage records in the Lyon County Courthouse.

The History of Lyon County Kentucky - Part 10

New Bethel Baptist Church
By Odell Walker

[picture on this page: “New Bethel Baptist stands at the entrance to the correctional complex.”]

New Bethel Baptist Church is one of the oldest, and perhaps THE oldest, organized religious group[s] in present-day Lyon County. Before the formal establishment of churches, in the early days people met in private homes for religious services.

The Methodist Circuit Riders were making inroads into this area as early as 1803. Jesse Walker was a preacher in the Livingston Circuit, 1803-1806. The entire Livingston Circuit had a membership of 103 members. There are no established records showing the establishment of a Methodist Church in present day Lyon County until Circa 1815.

The New Bethel Baptist Church was organized April 4, 1812 at the home of John Cammack. The preachers taking part in this organization were the Revs. Daniel Brown, James Rucker and Washington Thurman. The following people became charter members of this newly established church.

John Stone, Moses Arnold, John Duncan, Stephen Bennett, John McElroy, Andrew Jones, Elizabeth Jones, Nancy Stone, Morning Stone, Martha Sullivant, John Stone Jr., George Owens, Samuel Hill, Patty Hill, Joseph Cobb, Ann Cobb, William Jones, William Bennett, John Aldridge, William Chandler, Nancy Arnold and Mr. and Mrs. Pertle – 21 in all.

It is fair to assume that this new church met in homes from the time of its establishment until 1824. In 1824 a small church was built on land given by Larkin Bennett. This building is located about one mile southeast of the present building – near the old Jones Cemetery.

The first church building burnt in 1831. A new church building was built at the present location in 1832 on land given by Leasil Stone, father of Capt. William J. Stone. The new church building withstood the storms of time for 120 years.

This building was torn down and the third and present, meeting house was constructed in 1952.

In 1828, the Rev. James W. Mansfield came as pastor of New Bethel and served for 25 years. The Rev. Robert W. Morehead served from 1874 to 1900 for a total of 26 years.

Over the years, New Bethel has provided leadership in the establishment of seven other churches. New Bethel was also influential in getting the Baptist Theological Seminary moved from South Carolina to Louisville.

[The next two pages are “picture pages”. The captions are: 1) “Eddyville Baptist Church”, 2) “Lyon County Court House in old Eddyville where soldiers camped for 5 months.”, 3) “Old Love House, Lot 34, Eddyville”, 4) “Ferry Boat Eddyville – 1959”, 5) “Church in Eddyville 1959”, 6) “Street view old Eddyville”, 7) “House which was shot up in Feb. 1908 raid.” And 8) “Liberty School students – Oct. 23, 1901”]

The Huggans House
By Georgette Beatty

[This story includes a picture of the Huggans House along with the historical marker that stands in front of the house. ]

Located at the northern edge of Old Eddyville Historic District is the Dr. George Huggans House. Built ca 1840, the house is a one-story, five-bay Greek Revival Style.

It was Dr. Huggans who defended William Kelly against accusations of insanity from his wife and father-in-law, J. M. Gracey. Kelly’s experiments in the development of the pneumatic process for producing steel were ridiculed by many residents and local iron workers, thus leading to the charge of insanity.

The second owner of the house was Governor Charles Anderson, who gave it the name of “Sweet Home”. In 1875, for the sum of $2,000, Governor Anderson sold the house and all the property adjoining the town of Eddyville to John Espie, together with that other lot of ground, lying across the street there from and adjoining the property of Mr. Cobb and W. C. Wilcox.

(The Kentucky State Penitentiary was built on the Cobb and Wilcox property).

After the death of John Espie, “Sweet Home” was sold to Mrs. Laura Gracey, who married Finnis A. Wilson. In 1952, “Sweet Home” was sold by Mrs. Gracey’s daughter, Mrs. Laura Gracey Caldwell to the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Department of Corrections.

The house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981 and is presently used by the penitentiary as employee’s living quarters.