Allen County was first settled in 1797, at several points east
and north of Scottsville, by Jos. Ficklin, Toliver Craig, Henry
Collins, Daniel Monroe, Abram Wood, and others. The first church
organized was by the United Baptists, on January 31, 1801, four
miles northeast of Scottsville. The first justices of the peace,
and who organized the county court on April 10, 1815, at a point
four miles west of the present county seat, were Walter Thomas,
Edward Martin, David Harris, Wm. R. Jackson, John Ragland, Hugh
Brown, and Elias Pitchford; the first sheriff, Thomas Cook; the
first clerk, of both county and circuit courts, David Walker.
There are a number of Mineral Springs in Barren, which are considered
efficacious in many diseases; but none have been as yet, much
resorted to. There is a white sulphur spring on the east fork
of Little Barren River, 16 miles east of Glasgow, the waters
from which, as they flow off, form quite a respectable branch;
and is supposed to be the largest stream of mineral water in
the Green River country. There is a well on Buck Creek, nearly
14 miles west of Glasgow, which was commenced for salt water,
but at the depth of 30 feet or more, a very large stream of medical
water was struck (sulphur, magnesia, etc.), which rises about
four feet above the surface of the earth through a large pipe,
and runs off in a branch of considerable size. This is becoming
a place of considerable resort. There are, also, several smaller
springs within a few miles of Glasgow, which are thought to be
very beneficial to invalids.
Bridges. - In 1815, some enthusiastic persons spoke of a bridge
across the Ohio River. The anticipation did not become reality
until 1869, when the wire suspension bridge, with two piers,
between Covington and Cincinnati was completed. The iron railroad
bridge, with seven piers, between Newport and Cincinnati was
crossed by railroad trains on April 1, 1872, but not open for
foot and vehicle travel for several months after. The wire suspension
bridge between Newport and Covington was opened in January 1854,
and the Short Line Railroad bridge, two and one-half miles above
the mouth of Licking, in 1871. A substantial wooden bridge over
the Licking River, opposite Butler Station, on the Kentucky Central
Railroad, was finished in 1872.
Aboriginal Village. - In the bluffs, not far from Reel Foot Lake,
are found various ancient stone implements, earthen ware utensils,
and carved images, associated with human bones; affording evidence
that this country has once been the site of some considerable
Hurricanes. - The region of Reel Foot Lake is subject to frequent
severe hurricanes, which prostrate the largest trees in their
course. There is strong reason to believe that many of them originate
here, usually taking a northeast course. One of these, which
cannot be traced further south, took place March 20, 1834, between
9 and 10 a.m., passing by Feliciana on the edge of Graves County;
and within four miles, destroying six or seven houses, and carrying
clothing a distance, some say, of 20 miles.
The First Naval Engagement in the West, during the Civil War,
took place just above the town of Hickman.
Caves. - The caves in Green County are generally small. One in
the edge of Greensburg, with an average height of eight feet
and width of ten feet, extends over 600 yards. More than 70 years
ago, in this cave, a human skeleton was discovered in a recess,
about which an outer wall of stone had been built by some extinct
race. At the extreme limit of the cave is an exhaustless spring
of pure water, claimed to be the source of the town spring. Green
County abounds in remarkable springs, several of which still
furnish ample water-power for mills, and others did so in former
years. "The Drip" is the fanciful name of a popular
bathing resort, a short distance below Greensburg, where the
united waters of three springs fall over a projecting river cliff,
like heavy rain, from a height of 60 feet.
Covington was established by an act of the legislature, approved
February 8, 1815, on 150 acres of Thomas Kennedy's farm, purchased
of him in 1814 by Gen. John S. Gano, Richard M. Gano, and Thomas
Davis Carneal, for the round sum of $50,000. By the act, the
title was vested in Alfred Sandford, John C. Buckner, Uriel Sebree,
John Hudson, and Joseph Kennedy, as trustees; who were to make
title to purchasers of lots upon the order of the proprietors.
The first sale of lots was at a public auction, March 20, 1815,
at prices exceeding what the same lots sold for ten years afterward;
indeed, in 1828, some of the lots changed hands for less than
half what had been paid for them in 1815.
Centenarians. - James Byrum died in Madison County, in 1871,
aged 107 years, having been born in Hillsboro, North Carolina,
in 1764; came to Kentucky about 1793; and was never sick in his
life. Enos Hendren, another citizen of Madison, and native of
North Carolina, who frequently was at work in his garden during
the last year of his life, died August 12, 1872, aged 108 years.
The latter had been a member of the Baptist church for 90 years,
and the former for nearly 80 years. Daniel Purcell died March
1873, aged 105 years.
Gov. Robert P. Letcher, in honor of whom the county was named,
was a native of Garrard County, where he resided and practiced
law until 1840; was a representative in the legislature frequently,
in Congress for ten years, 1823-33, and again in the legislature;
was always a firm and consistent Whig, and in December 1831,
received the whole vote of the entire Whig representation for
Speaker of the House. In 1838, he was Speaker of the Kentucky
House of Representatives, and as such, distinguished for energy
and promptitude. As the Whig candidate, he was elected governor,
August 1840, for four years, by a 15,720 majority over Judge
Richard French. Although one of the most popular electioneers
in the state, he was beaten for Congress in the Lexington district,
August 1853, by Major. John C. Breckinridge, by a 526 majority;
owing to the remarkable popularity of the latter in Owen County.
Gov. Letcher died in Frankfort, January 24, 1861.
Among The Early Settlers of Woodford County, in addition to others,
were Gen. Chas. Scott (who had a son killed by the Indians),
Col. John Crittenden (father of John J. Crittenden), Gen. James
McConnell, Col. Wm. Steele (who died November 1826, aged 70),
Benjamin Berry, Lewis Sublett, Edmund Wooldridge, Henry Watkins,
and one or more of the families of Moss, Wilcox, Holeman, Stephenson,
Craig, and Slaughter.
Editor's Note: This is only a few
of the entries from this month's Collins' Historical Sketches.
For remaining letters, stories, photos, and other features, get
your hardcopy of the April 2000 Kentucky Explorer at your favorite
news stand or vendor. Thank You!