Ruins Found Of Old English
Home In Lincoln County
Platted English Land Grants And Slae Deeds Of 1781 Prove
English's Station Stood At, Or Near, Mouth of Copper Creek
By Allan R. Leach - 2003
Where was English's Station? Any avid reader of early Kentucky frontier history has seen English's Station on John Filson's map of Kentucky which was published in 1784. There, along the south side of Dicks (Dix) River, are three of the earliest outposts along the old Settlement Trace (later known as the Wilderness Road). Travelling downstream (west), the first settlement after reaching the head of Dicks River are English's Station, then Moore's Station (now Crab Orchard), and next Whitley's Station. In Collin's History of Kentucky, it is stated that English's Station was located "about two miles east of Crab Orchard on the south bank of Dicks River." Filson's map is not generally regarded as being highly accurate and Collin's history was published over 40 years after the frontier era had ended. Were Collins and Filson correct in their placement of English's Station?
Standing in a remote area near the mouth of Copper Creek in Lincoln county are these brick ruins of the old English family home. (Photo courtesy of the author.
The site of English's Station has been occasionally debated over the past 50 years or so and a number of claims have been made in recent years. Some of those claims are obviously incorrect and others have been gradually dismissed as well. For example, Broadhead, in western Rockcastle County has been suggested as the site since it is located at the very head of Dicks River. Another claim is that the old Gover home, which stands at the southeast edge of Crab Orchard along U. S. Highway 150, was the site. Recently, due to the development of the new Cedar Creek Lake, it has been suggested that perhaps the mouth of Cedar Creek is the site of English's Station. Extensive research in recent years has proven all these claims to be incorrect.
In the early 1980s, while working with the platted land grants and surveys throughout the northern half of Lincoln County, as well as with land title traces to various tracts of land of historical interest, I found that the site of English's Station is far from being a mystery at all. I have accumulated too much evidence in the form of land records, maps, and plattings to present in this brief article, but an overview of the main land records and landmarks will be of interest here.
Once the various land grants and deeds pertaining to the English family are gathered and platted, the location of the English family landholdings becomes obvious. Not only is there a natural landmark, but the ruins of the old English family home still exist to this day (as of spring 2002). That natural landmark is the mouth of Copper Creek which runs into Dicks River on the north side, just about two miles east of Crab Orchard.
When I found that the mouth of Copper Creek was the main survey landmark for the English family land grants, I began to search for the site both by car and on foot. I found the mouth of Copper Creek easily, just off a county road just inside Lincoln County near the Rockcastle County line. This point is about one mile northwest of where Copper Creek road intersects with U. S. Highway 150. Being on the upper end of Dicks River, this county road is often inundated with water in times of flood. The river is not as wide in this area as it is farther west towards Stanford. The county road, of which I speak, is called Saylor Road. Saylor Road turns off the north side of Highway 150 about a mile southeast of Crab Orchard. Except for the local community, this little road is rarely noticed by the traffic along the highway and is easily overlooked.
Saylor Road drops down into the river bottoms where it crosses over to the north side and proceeds upriver a short way to within just a few dozen yards of the mouth of Copper Creek. At that point, the road turns due north, up and over a high ridge, and ends near Harmon's Lick near the Garrad County line.
Just after the Say-lor Road turns away from the mouth of Copper Creek it starts up a fairly steep grade. Just a short ways up that grade, a brief level area appears and on a rise, on the left, are the ruins of a very early brick structure. About that time, I spoke with Mr. Delbert Crawford of Stanford (father of well-known columnist Byron Crawford), and he told me that the farm where the old ruins stand belonged to Mrs. George Crawford ( Juanita Saylor Crawford, now deceased).
I was fortunate to speak with Mrs. Crawford several times. Without any prompting on my part, Mrs. Crawford amazed me when she explained that according to the Saylor family tradition the old Saylor home (the brick ruins) was originally the English Station home! Little did Mrs. Crawford know, until then, that I had already figured that out. Mrs. Crawford went on to tell of an old black lady who had been born on the farm as a slave. This old lady had worked as a housemaid for the Saylors when Mrs. Crawford was just a young girl. The old lady often reminded the Saylors that their farm was originally known as English's Station, because she always feared that no one would remember this fact after she died. The oral tradition passed down to the Saylors by the old lady has proven to be correct.
From the land records, it is obvious that English's Station was named for Charles English, who obtained grant title to a total of 516 acres located at the mouth of Copper Creek. One grant was for 116 acres and the other grant was for 400 acres. Both tracts were surveyed in 1781 and grant deeds were made in 1782 with the Kentucky Land Office. Charles English also had another 334-acre land grant located near the head of Rockcastle River, which was surveyed in 1785 and its grant deed made in 1786.
The two tracts totaling 516 acres are described as being on "the settlement trace" which was known years later as the Wilderness Road. These tracts lie along the river bottoms in an east-west pattern and to the tops of the ridges on either side, as well as on both sides of the lower end of Copper Creek. The mouth of the creek is the main landmark used in the calls of the surveys and grants and is located right in the middle of the grants.
The English family did not stay on Dicks River for very many years. By 1790 Charles English was living in Madison County in an area that became Garrad County in 1797. English continued to pay taxes on his lands on Dicks River as late as 1808, but paid them from Madison County (this was not unusual for out of county landowners in those days). It should be noted here that none of the English family purchased any lands by deed from a previous owner in Lincoln County at any time prior to 1810. All their landholdings were acquired by land grants.
In 1795, Charles English sold the 116-acre tract to Matthew Elmore and in the same year sold a 40-acre tract to Samuel Locke. In 1808 Stephen English (apparently Charles's son) sold 19 acres to Motram Elmore.
It is the deed in 1799 (Lincoln County Deed Book D, Page 68) that proves beyond any doubt where English's Station was located. In this deed Charles English sells to Lucas Sullivant that tract, which he describes as "being on Dicks River and a creek called and known by the name of Copper Creek, to be the whole residue of the tract called English's Station, after deducting off the north and east end of said tract about 30 or 40 acres, which the said English gives to his son, which lies on the north and east side of Copper Creek and Dicks River." This boundary sold to Sullivant included the mouth of Copper Creek and bordered the "settlement trace" on the south side of the tract (on the south side of the river).
In short, these platted English family land grants and sale deeds prove that English's Station stood at or extremely near the mouth of Copper Creek. The old brick home, which was probably built around 1795, stood on the north side of the river being the part Stephen English owned until 1808. The original station blockhouse (assuming one existed) was probably located on a high point on the south side of the river directly opposite the mouth of Copper Creek. From that high point, there is a commanding view up and down the river valley, as well as up the Copper Creek valley, which has to be hiked to and seen to be appreciated.
The English Station lands did not stretch as far southwest as the site of the Gover home and were sold off by the time the Gover home was built (about 1810). The mouth of Cedar Creek is also not the site of English Station, since it was originally granted to William Whitley and later owned by the Menefees and Vardimans well into the middle 1800s. Cedar Creek is also west of Crab Orchard, several miles from the mouth of Copper Creek.
The ruins of the English Station home were still visible in the spring of 2002. I am told the Saylor/Crawford farm sold in recent months, and I am not sure the ruins are still there. The mouth of Copper Creek is right where it has been, probably for a thousand years. To find English's Station and the mouth of Copper Creek, just find the Saylor Road and take along a topographic map and you will find the area in no time at all. John Filson and Collins' History were exactly correct in placing English's Station on the south side of the river, two miles east of Crab Orchard. The land records, the brick ruins, and the oral history passed down through the Saylor family prove them correct beyond any doubt.
Allan R. Leach, P. O. Box 14, Hustonville, KY 40437-0014, shares this article with our readers.