Mr. John E. Younglove of the firm of Joseph I. Younglove and Brother has kept a reliable record, for the past 45 years of important events which have occurred in Bowling Green and vicinity, under his own knowledge, and that furnished by older citizens from 1808 to 1889; which he has kindly permitted the writer to furnish the following condensed report. There are many other records which would be of much interest in this section, but it would trespass too much on space. The events are all recorded neatly in a book which he had prepared for the purpose, which it is his intention to bequeath to Ogden College of Bowling Green.
In the winter of 1808 one of the highest rises occurred in Barren River that was ever known, and certainly nothing like it has occurred since. The rise was from six to eight feet higher than ever before or since. Mr. Adam Bratton, one of the early settlers, and uncle of Mr. Alex Graham of Bowling Green, showed his nephew a place above the footbridge where he boarded a flatboat with a hogshead of tobacco, from the bank or bluff, about 40 feet above the ordinary stage of water.
In 1811 occurred an earthquake, which was felt here for several days, the houses shaking so much that the dishes in the cupboards rattled, producing consternation among the inhabitants in this region, many of whom were so much frightened that they met in the churches for prayer and supplication.
In the winters of 1813 and 1818 there was 18 inches of snow upon the ground, also in the winters of 1830 and 1832.
In the fall of 1833 occurred one of the most remarkable meteoric showers that was ever known in this country. It commenced about the middle of the night and continued until daylight. The shooting meteors seemed to start from a point in the eastern heavens where the sun would be at 10:00 of a summer's day and radiate in all directions and seemingly fall to near the earth and disappear. It was a magnificent display, and those persons who saw it could not find language to describe it. The superstitious and timid were greatly alarmed, thinking the judgement day had come, and they fell upon their knees to pray. Others met in the churches, someone ringing the bell for their assembling to prepare for the coming doom.
On May 14, 15, and 16, 1834, was one of the most destructive frosts that was ever known so late in May. All vegetation of a tender nature was killed, even most of the "blackjack" trees and many other kinds of timber.
The old people have for years spoken of the "Cold Friday" of February 7, 1835, when the thermometer registered 18 degrees below zero. The wind blew a gale all day, making it so bitter cold that no one could remain outdoors any length of time without freezing.
The Asiatic cholera, which had been raging in this country since 1833 in different cities and towns, reached Russellville July 20, 1835, and raged with great violence and was probably more fatal than at any other place in the United States. It continued some 10 or 12 days, the number of the inhabitants, at that time, being about 1,800; 147 of whom died from the disease, the highest number of deaths in any one day being 15. The citizens commenced to leave the town, and it was entirely depopulated before it ceased.
On Saturday, June 1, 1840, it was announced that there had been three deaths in Bowling Green the night previous from cholera. The news spread and created the greatest consternation, and many persons who could do so left the town. Saturday was the day appointed for a general muster of all the militia companies in Warren County to be held at Bowling Green, and by 9:00 in the morning quite a large number had already arrived. Very soon they heard the words, "cholera and deaths," and as soon as they could comprehend what it meant, they mounted their horses and with whip and spur left town panic-stricken; turning everybody back whom they met.
On May the 4th and 5th of 1853, there was a very severe freeze that killed all the fruit.
In January 1854 there was one of the most destructive drouths that had ever been here, no rain falling from June 19th until September 23rd, so that no corn was raised, except in the river bottoms.
In the spring of 1855 the 17-year locusts appeared and remained their usual time.
On the 20th, 21st, and 22nd of September 1856, there was a frost that killed the tobacco and everything that was green; also on September 19, 1863.
On the morning of January 1, 1864, the thermometer was eight degrees below zero. The change was very sudden, for at 4:00 p.m. the day previous, it was 44 degrees above, making a fall in so short a time of 52 degrees.
On May 20, 1865, there was a great rise in the Barren River and its tributaries, Drake's Creek rising 45 feet in nine hours; carrying off the bridges and doing other damage.
On the afternoon of August 7, 1869, there occurred a total eclipse of the sun at Oakland, 12 miles northeast of Bowling Green.
Early in the morning of January 20, 1870, occurred the terrible tornado that destroyed Cave City. Most of the buildings were destroyed, three or four persons killed and others wounded. The day previous had been a very warm and sultry one, so much so that the walls of the houses dripped with condensed moisture from the walls being colder than the atmosphere.
The cholera reappeared in Bowling Green on July 19, 1873, and continued until August 10th. Sixty-six fatal cases occurred during the time, and in Franklin, about the same time, 50 deaths occurred.
The winter of 1877 was a very cold one. On the morning of January 9th, the thermometer registered 24 degrees below zero.
The summer of 1878 will be remembered for the yellow fever of the South. There were 23 fatal cases at Bowling Green.
On the morning of February 3, 1886, the deepest snow lay upon the ground that was ever known in the Park City. It commenced snowing at 8:00 a.m., the 2nd, and snowed continually until 6:00 a.m. on the 3rd; when it measured 27 inches on the level in Fountain Park on the public square.
The pear, peach, and cherry trees bloomed the last day of December 1880 in a few places in Warren County, which was the only time they were known to bloom here that early in 45 years.