Casey County Homestead Raided
By Quantrill's Guerrillas In 1865
"A Blast Bored A Clean Hole Through The Door,
Killing Prewitt Instantly As He Stood On The Other Side"
A view of the old Prewitt home as it appeared in March 1995. It was at the lower front door that Quantrill's men shot and killed Mr. Prewitt in February 1865.
(Photo courtesy of Allan R. Leach)
By Allan R. Leach - 2003
Several years ago, someone was overheard saying, "Casey
County, Kentucky, has no historic homes." While it is true
that no early state governors or other famous political figures were born in any of Casey County's existing homes, there are a number of very old homes in the county which are noteworthy for their age, architecture, and regional history. From time to time, we will take a look at some of Casey County's more interesting old homes and buildings, of which several stand today in the northern section of the county, along the Big South Fork and Little South Fork of Rolling Fork River.
One such house stands on the very bank of the Big South Rolling Fork just off KY Highway 78 in the rural community known as Rocky Ford. (The community was given its name during the early settlement period simply because the creek, or river, in this area is wide with a nearly flat and unbroken solid rock bottom which made for easy fording.) This old home was known in the mid-1900s as the Allen home, but is known from a historical standpoint as the old Prewitt home.
When examined closely, this large old farmhouse becomes a researcher's delight. The main front section of the house has a central hall, which divides four large rooms. The largest downstairs room to the left (east) side of the hallway
is found to be an early log dwelling built probably between 1785 and 1800, when this area was still a part of old Lincoln County (Casey County was formed out of Lincoln County in 1806.) At the rear, in the back ell section is another, separate, smaller log cabin. This early log homestead was built in the usual one-and-a-half story style with a log kitchen, or slave cabin, separated at the rear by several yards of open space.
At some point, probably in the late 1840s, the roofs were removed from the two old cabins. Rooms, the central hall, and rear ell section, all made of frame construction, were added to the top and west side of the original log dwelling and to the top and north side of the smaller rear cabin. When finished, the whole combined structure was weather boarded. A tall and narrow front porch of the Greek Revival tradition was built at the front of the home. The house has never been altered since that time.
The builder of the original log section is unknown at present, but we do know that the Prewitt (or Pruitt) family owned and occupied the home during the Civil War. It is during the Prewitt ownership that this old house takes on a historical significance.
In early 1865, William Clarke Quantrill and his guerrillas passed through this area from Lebanon in Marion County (to the west) to Hustonville in Lincoln County (to the east). Passing through Bradfordsville, Quantrill and his men ravaged several homes and farms along the Rolling Fork and alarmed the countryside at large.
By the time Quantrill and his men got up to the Prewitt's home at Rocky Ford, news of their approach had proceeded them. When they rode up to this old home on February 8, 1865, Mr. Prior Prewitt refused to open the front door. At this point, Quantrill, or one of his men, laid the barrel end of his shotgun against the front door, just above the door knob, and fired. The blast bored a clean hole through the door, killing Prewitt instantly as he stood on the other side. (The hole in the door, filled with plaster, was still visible in 1995). After the raiders left, Mr. Prewitt was buried in the family cemetery located a few hundred yards behind the house on a small rise or bluff.
Today, the grave and headstone of Mr. Prewitt can still be found in the cemetery which is now in a very poor condition. The old home still stands tall and straight, though in a very poor condition. Occupied up until just ten years ago by tenants, the house is now used to store hay.
Just 30 years ago, this old pioneer home was still a showplace. Now, only a shadow of its former self, this old relic of Casey County's rich heritage stands today as one of the more interesting historic homes of the area.
Allan R. Leach, P. O. Box 14, Hustonville, KY 40437-0014, shares this article with our readers. More detailed information on Quantrill's raid up Rolling Fork can be found in a leaflet published by the Bradfordsville Historical Society.