Collins' Historical Sketches


Green County
Old Stations. -Pittman's Station, one of the earliest in the Green River country, was situated upon the top of the cliff, outside of the curve of the creek, and about three-fourths of a mile from the fortifications. The station at Greensburg was located upon the very spot, it is said, which is now occupied by the courthouse. A third station was on the Little Barren River, southwest of Greensburg, about ten miles. A fourth, called Shank Painter or Skagg's, was situated six miles northwest of Greenburg, where the village of Somersville stands. About eight miles east of Greensburg, on the road to Columbia, Gray's Station was erected about the year 1790. Two miles further east, near the present Mount Gilead Meeting House, is a spot as famous as the camp, in 1770, of the "Long Hunters," under the leadership of Col. James Knox.

Henderson County
The 14th Steamboat on the western waters was built at Henderson in 1817, by J. Prentiss, and it was named Pike. She plied at first between Louisville and St. Louis, and afterwards in the Red River trade. She was lost on a sawyer in March 1818.

Kenton County
The Lettonian Springs, a weak sulphur spring, is situated four miles from Covington, on the Bank Lick Road. The springs are well-kept, and being a pleasant ride from Covington, they have become a place of considerable resort in the watering season.

Dry Creek, in Kenton County, is remarkable for the fact that, after a heavy rain, it is so flush and high that it cannot be forded. But in a few hours it runs dry, or so nearly so, that hogs will be seen where it was deepest, turning up the rocks in search of crawfish.

Lyon County
Iron Ore. -Probably in no section east of the Mississippi River and south of the Lake Superior region, are there such deep and inexhaustible beds of iron ore as in Lyon County. Ore from the Iron Mountain bank, three miles west of the Suwanee Furnace, contains 59.973% of iron. In the ores from the Mammoth Furnace, the proportion of phosphoric acid is large, and of alumina small; requiring the use of pure clay or other argillaceous material with the flux, and an increased amount of lime, to make the iron purer and more tough. Some cold blast white pig iron, made at this furnace in 1859, was too hard to be filed, and dissolved in acids by means of iodine, with great difficulty. Limestone for flux is abundant.

Some pig iron was refined in the hearth of the furnace at Suwanee, in 1859, which, on analysis, proved to be "very hard, brittle, white iron; presented a confused bladed crystalline appearance on the fractured surface; was about the color of impure nickel; was refined by Kelly's method, in which Bessemer's process for the purification of iron seemed to be measurably anticipated, viz., by dipping the tuyere into the melted metal in the hearth of the furnace, and forcing the cold blast through it."

Monroe County
Zinc Ore was found, in 1856, at the time of the geological survey of the state, running in slender veins through limestone belonging to the Devonian Period, in the bed of Sulphur Lick Creek in Monroe County. The official analysis proved it essentially a sulphuret of zinc, containing 51.77% of zinc. The sulphuret is combined in this ore with 17.48% of silica, besides 5.19% of carbonates of lime and magnesia, and a little disseminated sulphuret of lead. "If found in sufficient abundance, it might be profitably employed in the manufacture of zinc white paint (Kentucky Geological Survey, page 68 and 247)." "Imperfect veins of sulphurets of zinc and lead traverse the limestone under the black slate, in the bed of Sulphur Lick Creek, in a direction South 20 degrees West (Kentucky Geological Survey, page 154).

Warren County
Caves are very numerous in Warren County. Some of them would be regarded as considerable curiosities, if there were no Mammoth Cave. About six miles northeast of Bowling Green, there is a cave with a perpendicular descent from the north of about 30 or 40 feet. At the bottom are vast quantities of human bones. How and when they were put there can, of course, only be conjectured. About three miles south of Bowling Green, and on the turnpike to Nashville, is the Cave Mill, in level barrens. A creek breaks up from the ground, runs about 200 yards, then disappears in the cave. After a course underground of a mile and a half, it again appears, and runs into the Barren River.

Morgan County
Of Cannel Coal, Morgan County embraces probably the largest bodies in Kentucky. Much of it is very readily mined, but all inaccessible to the market. There appear to be two horizons of cannel coal in Morgan County, varying from 200 to 300 feet apart. The lower bed, in one of the most remarkable deposits in the world, is well-exposed on the waters of Caney Creek, especially on the Stone Coal Fork of Caney. It is of a fine cuboidal fracture, generally from 32 to 36 inches thick. The upper cannel vein, where observed, is 14 inches thick, underlaid by eight to ten inches of clay and shale parting, and 15 to 18 inches of bituminous and shop coal at the bottom; in all, 39 to 40 inches. The minute chemical analyses, by Prof. Peter, of cannel coal from ten different beds in Morgan County showed the average percentage if sulphur only 0.88.

"The main cannel coal of Caney and Elk Fork is full of remains of Stigmaria, impressed completely in the substance of the coal itself, in an excellent state of preservation; another evidence that this kind of vegetation contributed largely to the formation of cannel coal. Above the forks of the Stone Coal Branch of main Caney, the stream runs for a long distance over bare ledges of cannel coal, which measures there from 30 to 36 inches." The original undergrowth on this creek was cane, hence the name of the creek.

The state geological survey developed satisfactory indications that saltwater might be obtained by boring in the vicinity of West Liberty, in the valley of the Licking River.

The Iron Ore (limonite) from Morgan County, subjected to analysis, developed only 22.10% of iron; "too poor to be profitably smelted of itself, but might pay to mix with rubber ores to furnish silicious material for the flux, and the formation of cinder, in the high furnace."