TABLE OF CONTENTS
Biographical Sketch of the Author - 1
Early Visitors - 2
The First Battle - 3
Indian War - 4
Major Bush's Campaign - 5
Bowman's Campaign - 6
Formation of Counties - 7
Description - 8
Roads and Mail Service - 9
Road Building - 10
Boone County Firsts - 12
Revolutionary War Soldiers - 13
Early Currency Problems - 14
From Cincinnati Newspapers, 1813 - 16
Rabbit Hash - 17
Hopeful Lutheran Church - 17
Ryle Family - 18
Leonard Stephens - 19
Fighting Near Florence - 20
Destruction of a Mill - 21
Larkin Vaughn Killed - 25
First House - 25
Big Bone Lick - 26
Early Settlers - 29
Reading Material - 30
Belleview (Grant) - 32
Post Offices - 33
Salt Making - 35
Beaver Lick - 36
Underhill Family - 37
Moses Scott's Circular Letter - 38
Beginning of Florence - 39
Methodist Church - 40
John Norris - 41
The Baptists - 42
Boone County Journal - 44
Bradford Family - 45
Tanner Family - 46
Pioneer Merchants - 47
Silver Half Dollar - 47
Benjamin Stephens - 48
John P. Gaines - 50
Toll Gates - 54
More about Toll Gates - 55
Hangman's Tree - 56
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF THE AUTHOR
A. M. Yealey, the seventh child of Michael Yealey and Catherine Strebel, was born in Union County, Ohio, on January 29, 1873.
Michael Yealey, the father, was born in Germany on January 10, 1827, and Catherine Strebel, the mother, was born in Germany on July 5, 1833. Catherine came to Ohio in 1847 and Michael in 1854. They were united in marriage at Bryan, Ohio, on October 24, 1854.
To this union were born eight children, four boys and four girls. Two boys and two girls are still living, in 1959.
A. M. Yealey received his grade and high school education in Union County, Ohio. His college work was at the National Normal University at Lebanon, Ohio; Wilmington College, Wilmington, Ohio; and the University of Cincinnati, Ohio.
After teaching for five years in Union County, Ohio, he established a good business in selling coal, lime, salt, flour, sand, and other commodities in Columbus, Ohio. The flood of 1898 ruined the business by wrecking the buildings.
On March 1, 1898, A. M. Yealey married Lucy Ann Rouse, the daughter of George Rouse, of Florence, Boone County, Kentucky. They lived with the bride's father and Mr. Yealey became a farmer and teacher.
After teaching in four rural schools in the county he became the principal of the school in Florence where he remained for twenty-nine years. In 1911 he established the first high school in Florence to be recognized by colleges.
In 1931, he and his son-in-law, Russell House, formed a partnership and built the Wild Wood Motel on U.S. Highway 42 on the southern limits of Florence.
After six years Mr. Yealey planned to open a hotel. His wife's health prevented this and selling his home he purchased the house at 268 Main Street- His wife passed away in 1942.
His longing for his chosen profession caused him to return to the school house. He taught in Florence from 1943 to 1945, and at New Haven for three years.
His children are Mrs. Willa House, Russell Yealey, and Georgia Y. Tanner (deceased). Grandchildren are Dr. G. R. Tanner and Mary Russala Yealey Demoisey. Robert Tanner, Sherry Tanner, and Rene Demoisey are great-grandchildren.
Realizing the need for the preservation of Boone County history,
Mr. Yealey began to write articles for the Boone County Recorder, the Walton Advertiser, and the Stringtown Christian under the title of "Early History of Boone County."
The response from people who had once lived in Boone County was beyond expectations and to further the knowledge of the history of the area the Boone County Historical Society was formed. Mr. Yealey is the Historian of the society.
He took pride in Florence and served as its mayor on four different occasions. During his first term of office, in 1908, the city's first sidewalks were laid on Main, Shelby, and Girard streets.
His church membership is at the Unionville, Ohio, Methodist Church which he helped to build during 1893.
Now, in 1959, Mr. Yealey is eighty-six years of age. He has taught school forty-one years. He is a very spry man and still writes on Boone County history for the local newspapers.
George the II, was king of England from 1727 to 1760. In the year of 1750 he issued a patent of 500,000 acres of land to the Ohio Company, which was composed of four prominent Englishmen and several Virginians. This land was in the Ohio Valley and the Ohio Company gave Christopher Gist and Mr. Lawrence Washington (a brother of George Washington) instructions to explore along the Ohio River and find a place that would consist of the above number of acres of land. Gist and Washington crossed the Alleghany Mountains to the Ohio River and descended to where Portsmouth is now situated.
While here he met two French traders who had been at Big Bone Lick, and his diary states that they gave him a jaw-tooth over 4 pounds in weight, several rib bones 11 feet long and a skull 6 feet across, and several teeth called horns over 5 feet long. They also gave Gist a very good location of the place where they found the bones, stating that it was 20 miles below the mouth of the Big Miami River and up a small stream that flowed into the Ohio from the south, and that it had been six years since they had been there which would have made their visit to Big Bone Lick in 1774.
We have no account of Gist ever having visited this place. Our next visitor was Mrs. Mary Ingles who, in 1758, with her two boys, her sister-in-law Mrs. Draper, and others, were taken prisoners by the Shawnee Indians from her home in what is now West Virginia. They
were taken down the Ohio in flatboats and on reaching the Shawnee town (Portsmouth) she was separated from her boys and Mrs. Draper. While the Indians were making salt at Big Bone Mrs. Ingles and the Dutch woman decided to escape, and under pretense of gathering grapes, they left. After 40 days of untold hardships they reached home. One of the boys died while captive among the Indians. The other was found by the father after 13 years of separation. Mrs. Ingles died in 1813, aged 84 years.
THE FIRST BATTLE
Gen. Rogers Clark in 1781 ordered Col. Lochrey of Pennsylvania to raise a company of men and assist him in an expedition against Detroit. Col. Lochrey raised a force of 120 men and was to meet Gen. Clark at Fort Henry (Wheeling W. Va.). When Lochrey reached this fort he found that Gen. Clark had already passed down the Ohio. Lochrey dispatched Captain Shannon with four men to overtake Clark and obtain supplies. These four men were captured (also letters from Lochrey to Clark) near Belleview. They were so placed on the Indiana shore at the head of Lochrey's island that any one passing up or down the river could see them. The Indians, about 400 in number, 200 on the Boone county side of the river and the rest on the Indiana side awaited the arrival of Col. Lochrey and his troop. Before reaching the island the troops made a landing on the Boone county side opposite Lochrey's creek to prepare a meal and graze the horses. While here they were attacked by the Indians on the Kentucky side, the troops defending themselves until their ammunition was exhausted when they took their boats, then the Indians on the Indiana side rushed out on a sand bar and deadly conflict ensued, rifle balls were coming from both sides of the river, further resistance was useless, and they were compelled to surrender. Col. Lochrey was massacred and 42 of his men fell in battle, the rest were taken prisoners, most of whom were ransomed by British officers, in 1783 and exchanged for British soldiers captured during the Revolutionary war.
If the reader should chance to be at Aurora, Indiana, it will be of interest to visit the cemetery about three-fourths of a mile west of the town, there you will see the monument which was erected August, 1924, in memory of Col. Lochrey and his company that were slain in the above battle.
During the year 1778 and '79 the Indians from Indiana and Ohio were making frequent incursions into Kentucky, and molesting the settlements that were in existence. Col. Bowman, County Lieutenant of Kentucky County, Virginia, was ordered to prevent this depredation and consequently he ordered four companies to meet where Covington is now located. In April, 1779, Captain Logan, from Logan's Station, arrived with his company of 99 men; Captain Harlin from Harrodsburg with 60 men; Captain John Holder from Boonesborough with 56 men; Captain Wm. Harrod's company of about 60 men. Several of these companies met at Lexington and marched down the west side of the Licking River until they came to the head waters of Bank Lick Creek, where they camped for the night. Then they followed Bank Lick to the mouth of the Licking.
Maj. Geo. Michael Bedinger was appointed Adjutant. The men then crossed the Ohio River and were formed into three divisions and placed in marching order by the Adjutant before Col. Bowman. The trail of the Indian was soon found and after two days marching they halted at the Indian town of Old Chillicothe (near the city of Xenia, Ohio). The object of Col Bowman was to surround the village and make a simultaneous attack, but before the companies were able to do this they were detected by an Indian sentinel and the alarm given. The Indian warriors collected in a few of the stronger cabins and kept up a withering fire through the cracks in the huts. The white men set fire to the unprotected cabins and burned about 35, also much spoil was taken such as blankets and kettles from the burning huts.
One hundred and thirty-five horses were collected near their village. After an engagement lasting about two hours, the whites had lost seven men and the Red Man had lost their two leaders, Black Fish and Red Hawk. When Col. Bowman found his soldiers were fighting to disadvantage, ha ordered a retreat. The retreating army had reached where Spring Valley, Ohio, is today, when the Indians began to press hard upon the rear and continued with a scattering fire for the next ten miles, until Adjutant Gen. Bedinger, with about 100 men on horseback rushed on the Indian ranks and they retreated. Although the Indians were not completely subdued, their engagement taught them a lesson for a short time.
MAJOR BUSH'S CAMPAIGN
Major John Bush was one of Boone County's pioneer citizens and lived in the North Bend bottoms and at that time it was called Campbell County. He was one of the County Court Justices and took a very prominent part in the warfare against Indians and volunteered in the expedition of General Harman. In 1790 he crossed the river to Cincinnati and left with the army that had congregated there for the purpose of chastising the Indians who had been disturbing the settlements in Northern Kentucky and the southern part of Ohio and Indiana.
They followed the Big Miami and when they reached Piqua and St. Mary they encountered the Indians and a two-day battle took place. Major Bush says the first day he had charge of 20 men, the advance guard of the army, and had orders to fire on any force he encountered and if the number were ten thousand it was his duty to charge through them and form at their back. Bush further says that his detachment was drawn into ambuscade with a loss of one-third their number and his superior officer was killed and when he tried to retrieve the body his sword was shot from his hand and a ball pierced his cheek.
The army having been defeated returned home. Mr. Bush was very prominent and as an inducement to come to Cincinnati, he was offered a lot at the corner of Main and Front Street 100 feet by 200 feet for the sum of $100. This was in 1793 and when our county was organized in 1798 he was offered 200 aces of land at the intersection of the Licking River and Ohio for the sum of $200 but he refused the offer stating "I would rather live in the North Bend Bottoms in Boone County."
Orders were given to retreat and the horsemen were directed to ride as far as they could with safety to the rear and bring up the men who were given out. During this maneuver his horse got mired in the mud with another man on the horse with him. When he had him to dismount, two Indians suddenly appeared and took him captive. He then dismounted and started running. He was fired upon and the noise from the discharge of the gun scared the horse so badly that it caused it to free itself. When the horse passed by him, it was regained and mounted.
No better description of Bowman's campaign could be given than that by the Adjutant General, George M. Bedinger. Dr. Draper says he obtained this information from the lips of Geo. M. Bedinger.
We left Sheperdstown March 1, 1776. There were 12 of us including myself, working our way to Boonesboro by way of Powell's Valley and Cumberland Gap until we came to the Boone Trail, which we followed to Boonesboro. While here Capt. John Holder was organizing a company (In connection with the Logans Station and Harrods stations) to make a raid on the Indian settlements at Old Chillicothe, Ohio, stating that they were to meet at the mouth of the Licking and reorganize. Col. John Bowman was County Lieutenant of Kentucky County, Virginia, at this time and had command of all the companies. Mr. Bedinger says their company followed the valley of the Licking River until they came to Bank Lick stream, which they followed until they reached the place where Covington is now situated.
Mr. Bedinger had never met Col. Bowman and he was introduced to him by Capt. Holder as a man of considerable experience in Indian war-fare and he was appointed Adjutant General. He says they crossed the Ohio River and followed the Little Miami River to the Indian village (near where Xenia is now located) unobserved by the Indians, Logan's forces on the left of the village. Harrod's on the right and Holder's in front of the town, in the high grass. AH was quiet until midnight when in Indian who had been hunting came upon Holder's company and said "Who is there?" A man by the name of Ross shot him and he gave a loud yell. The noise of the rifle shot alarmed the dogs and they began to bark.
The Indians were aroused and fled to the large council house in the center of the village. Holder's men lay still until 8 or 10 of the Indians approached. When they cocked their rifles the Indians retreated and the men fired and wounded several of them. At this point Harrod's and Logan's men ran into the town and shots were exchanged but most of the men were busy setting fire to the cabins and collecting spoils, such as silver ornaments, blankets, and guns.
An attempt was made to storm the council house but the Indians fired through the cracks.
Black Fish and Red Hawk urged their men saying, "Remember you are warriors. Your invaders are Kentucky squaws. You can conquer
them." Then they all would cry: "Ye-awe, ye-awe, ye-awe."
After about 35 cabins had been burned the soldiers began to hunt the horses out-side the town and corralled 135. Mr. Bedinger and 15 other men screened themselves behind a large oak log, about 50 yards from the council house and expected a vigorous attack would be made at day-light against this fortification, but this was doomed as Col. Bowman had given the signal to retreat.
Mr. Bedinger says, at 9 o'clock, 7 men behind the logs had been killed and he ordered the rest to put their hats on sticks and raise them above the logs and draw the Indian fire and before they could reload they made their escape but were followed and were continually harassed from the rear. When Major Bedingar called for men who had fought with Morgan at Quebec and they responded and a rush was made upon the Indians. Black Fish and Red Hawk were singled out and both were killed. The Indians then retreated and the soldiers retreated to the mouth of the Licking where they divided the spoils and each company returned to their settlement.
It is believed that they met at a spring on Horse Branch Creek to care for the wounded and to divide the horses and other items captured from the Indians.
FORMATION OF COUNTIES
We shall now give you a brief history of the formation of some of the early counties, and by so doing the reader will readily see that many events took place in what is now Boone County while it was under the jurisdiction of another County. In fact from 1800 to 1870 nearly every time the legislature met they organized one or more counties. When Kentucky was admitted as a state there were only nine counties. During 1778 a part of Fincastle County, Virginia, was cut off and called Kentucky county and in 1780 Kentucky county was divided into three parts, viz: Jefferson, Lincoln, and Fayette. In 1785, Bourbon was organized out of Fayette. In 1788 Mason was organized out of Bourbon and Woodford out of Fayette. During 1792 Scott was organized out of Woodford and in 1793 Harrison County out of Scott and Woodford During 1794 Campbell County was organized out of Harrison, Scott and Mason and in 1798 Boone County was established out of Campbell. No further changes were made in this horseshoe bend in the Ohio river until 1840 when Kenton County was organized out of Campbell. So we
can readily see that all events that took place in Boone after 1794 to 1798 or in Kenton prior to 1840 were Campbell County events.
The first courts of Campbell County which in 1794 included Boone and Kenton were held at Wilmington on the Licking River but in 1795 it was moved to Newport. Boone and Kenton had representatives in the County Court. Mr. John Bush from the North Bend bottom represented this section of Campbell County. In 1789 Gen. Harmer sent Captains Strong and Kearsey to procure food for the soldiers that ware stationed at Fort Washington to protect the settlement, they having been without food and were ready to abandon their post if not supplied at once. Mr. John S. Wallace who was a trader and lived close by the Fort selected a Mr. John Dement and John Drennon to go with him down the Ohio River. After reaching Big Boone Creek they secreted their canoe in the mouth of this stream and in a few days had killed deer, bear, and buffalo enough to last the garrison of 70 men until provisions had arrived from Pittsburg. So we see this happened nine years before Boone County was organized, but it took place on what isnow Boone County soil.
The previous articles that have appeared on the early history of Boone County applied to it before it became organized as a county, in fact before the state of Kentucky was separated from Virginia. Perhaps it would be well here to have the reader understand that the people of Kentucky County, Virginia, in 1784 called a convention at Danville and discussed the separation from Virginia, and after eight different conventions had been called extending over a period of five years, Virginia passed an act December 1, 1789 agreeing to a separation. A ninth convention was called by the people of Kentucky county and the act of Virginia was accepted July 26, 1790, which fixed June 1, 1792, as the date Kentucky was to be admitted as a State, "never having been a territory of the Federal Government."
In order to bring government nearer its people the state began the organization of the counties and in 1798 Boone county, the 30th, was organized out of the western part of Campbell county and in honor of Daniel Boone "the old pioneer."
Our county has an average length of about 20 miles and an average width of 15 miles and is bounded on the East by Kenton county,
on the South by Grant and Gallatin counties and on the North and West by the Ohio river which flows along its border for about 40 miles.
The county as a whole would be classed as generally hilly, but in the main it is nearly all tillable, the river bottoms for a distance of forty miles are exceedingly productive and the hill land produces fine tobacco and pasture, while fruit growing is taking a great step forward as shown by the two-day fruit course and apple show at Covington, Kentucky, November 21, and 22, 1924.
Boone county has no very large streams, yet we find Gunpowder, Big Bone, Mud Lick, Woopler and Middle creek often inquired for by some city folks in the hope of passing a quiet day along their banks.
When our country was organized in 1798 the population consisted of 1400 persons and its first State Senator was Squire Grant, and the first State Representative was William Arnold.
ROADS AND MAIL SERVICE
It has been 126 years since Florence was named and incorporated as a village, with a population of 63.
The Covington and Lexington Roadway at that time was a dirt road. Taverns and all means of stopping places were being built along this roadway, this called for improvement in the building of roads.
The state, in 1830, began to take active part in the road improvement. By 1835 the Lexington-Covington turnpike had been completed from Covington to Florence, a distance of about 10 miles and 15 miles North of Lexington, that left about 50 miles. 20 miles farther North had been graded, but no stone or gravel was placed upon it. This left about one half distance ungraded through which the stage coach had to plow between Cincinnati and Lexington. Transporting the mail was often delayed two or three days, due to the bad condition of the road.
Remember Florence had a daily mail service beginning April 27, 1830. The coach that transported this mail proceeded to Lexington. It would arrive in Cincinnati every morning at 7 A.M. and depart at 10 A.M. The horses that were used to draw these coaches were generally given a rest and others substituted at Florence or Williamstown until the return trip was made.
We also had a mail route to Lawrenceburg, Indiana, by way of Burlington 3 times a week, at 9 A.M. on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
It left Lawrenceburg, by way of Burlington to Cincinnati, 10 A.M. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
I find a clipping in the Western Statesmen, 1831, from James W. Hunter, Post Master at Lawrenceburg stating that a stage line had been established from Lawrenceburg to Cincinnati, leaving Lawrenceburg at 6 A.M. Monday, Wednesday and Friday and leaving Cincinnati Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday arriving at Lawrenceburg at 1 P.M., from this we assume that this mail route by horse back by way of Burlington to Lawrenceburg was discontinued about 1831.
Cincinnati has always been the terminal of our mail service and her first Post Office was established in 1793. The first Postmaster was Abner Dunn, who held the office until his death in 1795, when Daniel Mayo assumed the office a short time after September 1795. W. Maxwell became the third Postmaster and was succeeded by William Ruffin. He was appointed by George Washington in 1796, held office until he resigned in 1814.
On January 29, 1830, the state made its first appropriation in conjunction with individual stock holders. The road was completed by 1838. Toll gates were erected at convenient places, mainly at cross roads for the purpose of paying the up-keep of the roads. Two of these toll gate houses were built between Florence and Walton. They are still in existence, being removed to different locations and made into residences or places of business.
When Kentucky was admitted as a state in, 1792, the question of internal improvement became the great issue and a better and more rapid way of transportation was undertaken by trying to find the ways and means of building roads. We should remember that the same laws that applied to Virginia during a short period applied to Kentucky.
In 1797 an act was passed for the opening of new roads and surveyors were appointed by the courts to survey routes over which roads could be constructed and all male laboring persons over 16 years of age were required to work the roads, except those who were masters of two or more slaves over said age or be fined $1.25 per day for each day's absence or neglect to work. The surveyors were ordered, also, to make these roads out of stone, timber, or earth and to receive their pay from each county levy of taxes as the law provided.
In March, 1797, Joseph Crockett was appointed to make a turn-pike leading from Crab Orchard and intersect with the trail that led from Madison Court House to Cumberland Gap.
He completed this road and it was farmed out to the highest bidder. Robert Craig was the successful bidder on this road, and established a toll gate on the road and collected toll as follows: for every person except Post Riders, expresses, women and children under the age of ten years, 12 ½ cents. Every horse, two wheel carriage, cattle 4 per head. All surplus funds were to belong to the keeper of the toll road for keeping the same passable. This road was made of earth and graded 15 to 18 feet wide. This was the beginning of road building in our state and on February 4th, 1817, the legislature passed an act for the purpose of forming artificial roads.
On February 8th, 1819, a Charter was granted to a stock company to build an artificial stone road from Georgetown to Cincinnati. This road was to follow the same course as the Dixie Highway but the U.S. Government was at that time building a National Highway west from Baltimore and the Legislature of Kentucky by a resolution February 3rd, 1828, recommended to Congress to extend a branch from Zanesville, Ohio, down through Kentucky, but it appears that when it came to a vote a Kentucky senator voted against this proposition and all senators from the Southern States did likewise. After this measure was lost the State then became more active and began to make appropriations on condition that the State would contribute $1.00 every time the subscriber and stockholder contributed $30.00 for the purpose of building a McAdamized road and by 1837 the State had spent $26,000 on the road from Covington to Williamstown, a distance of 37 miles, and when it was completed to Lexington, 85 miles, it had cost the State around $170,000 besides what the stockholders paid and subscriptions. This road was built of broken stone and spread 9 to 10 inches deep and the roadway was graded 20 to 50 feet wide and the stone laid 16 to 20 feet wide.
Toll gates were built at convenient places, and it became the most traveled road in the State and paid the best dividend (4%) of any road in the State. About 12 miles of this road lies in Boone county. When the auto appeared these toll roads charged 20 cents a mile for a motor driven machine, this had a tendency to keep the auto off the roads as the horse and buggy days were here and the horses became frightened and caused many accidents. Think of it, $2.40 for a round trip from Florence to Burlington!
BOONE COUNTY FIRSTS
The first white man to visit Boone County was M. Longuiel who was at Big Bone Lick in 1739.
The first white woman in Boone County was Mrs. Mary Ingles at Big Bone Lick, 1756.
The first settlement was Tanner's Station (Petersburg) in 1789.
The first white child born was Polly Ann Ryle in 1790
The first white child born after the county was organized was John Underhill, 1798.
The first survey was made by Thomas Bullitt in 1773 at Big Bone Lick and the second survey was made by John Floyd in 1774.
The first state senator was Squire Grant, 1801.
The first representative was William Arnold, 1801.
The first Baptist church was organized at Bullittsburg in 1794.
The first census of Boone County was taken by the U. S. Government in 1800 — population 1534.
The first salt manufactured in Boone County was by the Indians at Big Bone Lick.
The first salt made by white men was in 1812 at Big Bone Lick.
The first shoemaker, Wm. Underhill, was at Taylorsport in 1790.
The first run-away slaves ever advertised were in 1794. A reward of $15 was offered.
The first Baptist preacher was John Tanner 1789 — the second was Lewis Dewees in 1792.
The first agricultural fair in Boone County was held at Florence in 1855.
The first prisoner ever captured by the Indians was John Tanner in 1790, age 9 years. This boy lived with the Indians for 28 years after his capture.
The first town to be incorporated was Burlington in 1824.
Aaron Burr made his first trip through Florence in 1805 and his second trip in 1806.
General LaFayette and his son, Col. Geo. Washington LaFayette, passed the night at Florence in 1826. The writer of this article has a fifty cent coin that was issued by the Mint in 1820 that the General used to pay part of his lodging.
The first school term established in Boone County consisted of 3 months — 1838.
In 1869 the school term was extended to five months.
The first Lutheran Church was organized in 1807.
The first Lutheran preacher was William Carpenter who came in 1813.
The first Christian Church was at Florence in 1835. The original building burned and was replaced in 1842 by the brick building which still stands.
The first Methodist Church was organized in 1842 and Reverend Gilby was the first minister.
The coldest day in Boone County from 1818 to 1870 was January 19, 1857, when the temperature fell to 24 1/2 degrees below zero.
The hottest day from 1818 to 1870 was September 3, 1854 when the temperature soared to 102 degrees. Also on August 14, 1870 the temperature rose to 102.
The first railroad (a short line) was from Covington to Louisville and was built in 1869.
The first serious accident on the short line railroad was near Verona. A train fell through an iron bridge killing 2 and wounding 53 in 1872.
The first horse to bring fame to Boone County was Purity, bred by L. A. Loder.
The first law enacted to allow Boone County to levy a tax to purchase tools to be used on public roads was in 1822.
The first charter granted to build the road from Georgetown to Cincinnati was in 1861 — this is known as Dixie Highway.
According to John Uri Lloyd, the only time the Confederate Flag ever flew over the State Capital building at Frankfort, it was hung there by Felix Moses. He was a Jew peddler who traded in Boone County for many years.
REVOLUTIONARY WAR SOLDIERS
It is a credit to the State of Kentucky to know that she owed her intellectual development to the fact that at the close of the Revolutionary war, in 1781, many of her officers and soldiers from Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland sought homes in Kentucky.
At least three thousand of these brave men came to our State. It is difficult to trace them as the pension records only have names of the wounded and invalid. Many refused aid from the Government they had
helped make free and many died or were killed by Indians during the period from 1781 to 1798, when Boone county was organized, or 1840 when Kenton county was organized.
The writer has searched old records and will vouch for these men who served in the Revolutionary War.
Boone County: Joseph Barlow, William Brady, Jacob Brennon, Peter Brumback, John H. Craig, Daniel Goff, Richard Huebell, Cave Johnson, A. Ross, John Brown, Hugh Steers, John Tomlinson, Geo. West, Jerusha Alexander.
Kenton County: Joseph Casey, Stephen Collins, John Ducker John Keen, Edmund Massey, Wm. Worthington, Nancy McGlasson.
No doubt there are several more but our ancestors are dead. We failed to get this information while they lived and very few records are now available.
EARLY CURRENCY PROBLEMS
The early settlers of Boone county experienced difficulty in making change with currency. In the early times, skins of raccoons, minks and other animals were used for currency. When our first settler came they brought a small supply with them. Most of this was silver coin, this was the Spanish milled dollar and it failed to relieve the small change short age.
Mr. Tanner, in his 1816 shop book, states that these silver dollars were laid on the anvil and cut into four equal parts or quarters, worth twenty-five cents each. Very often it would be cut into eight equal parts and when so cut this money was called "sharp skins" because of its wedge shape. If the change was less than 12i cents the storekeeper generally gave pins, pencils, or needles as change.
During the period of 1816 Mr. David Thomas, a scientist traveled through Boone County and this is what he says, "In this district, cut money is very common, if change cannot be made, the chisel and mallet are introduced, but there is a speculation even in the business, for one fifth is often palmed on the traveler for a quarter. This invention is supposed to be of Kentucky origin and was probably caused by necessity.
"In this country, so far as we can discover, the banks have done nothing to accommodate the people with change."
The writer has found that the milled dollar was often cut into five quarters or ten eights. This practice was justified on the grounds that a person should be paid expense of coinage.
A Mr. John Bartle conducted two large stores, one in Cincinnati and one in Newport Ha became exasperated at the wedge-shaped coins and had them barreled aid shipped by water to Pittsburgh, then by wagon to Philadelphia. There the first mint was located and had all these sharp-skin pieces re-coined.
He also had the mint officials send him several barrels ofthose large pennies, which are dated 1824-1825, some earlier and some later than these dates.
A number of Boone County people have them as keepsakes.
It seems that Mr. Bartle got the jump on other store keepers and they thought of mobbing him at one time, but finally concluded to barrel their own and have them re-coined.
The writer of this article has in his possession twenty large pennies and several two-cent pieces, a fifty-cent dated 1820, and another dated 1826. There came a time in 1873 that all specie payments were suspended and all silver change disappeared and paper money (shin-plasters) in amounts of less than one dollar were issued by cities, towns, and villages.
There being so many different varieties and backed by different people, the exigencies of the Civil War of 1862 demanded a substitute for the retired silver change and the government of the U.S. issued fractional currency.
The writer of this article has two of these and they are also called "shin-plasters." This fractional currency was issued in March 1863 and on the back we find inscribed the following: "This note is exchangeable for United States Notes by the Assistant Treasurer and designated depositories of the United States."
This act of the government gave this currency uniformity of value, freedom of circulation and a certainty of redemption of the larger national currency, the legal tender and national bank notes.
There were very few banks for the Boone County settlers to patronize. The nearest one was a private and only temporary one established in Covington in 1821 by Benjamin W. Leathers in connection with his store. This bank was organized when fractional currency was called for. Mr. Leathers issued his own promise to pay or "shin-plaster" in denominations of 6 ¼, 12 ½, 25 and 50 cents. This seemed to have helped, but the day of redemption came, and Mr. Leathers took them in like an honest banker. He threw them in a large fireplace, little realizing that a strong wind carried them up the flue, and deposited them in the street in front of his store where people picked them up and had them cashed the second time.
Finding his assets nearly exhausted, he found the wind caused all the "shin-piasters" to go up the flue- He then got an old trunk and deposited all "shin-plasters" there-in, and took them to the Beechwood Farm where under his watchful eye he could see the flames of fire consume them.
FROM CINCINNATI NEWSPAPERS, 1813
Col. Johnson's big bull dog got mashed to death in John Houston's wolf trap.
Col. Sebree and John Hornsby, who took a flat boat load of pork to New Orleans, have returned. They gave a thrilling account of their return afoot through the Indian country. They came through Nashville, Tennessee, and report Gen. Jackson raising a large army to meet the British at New Orleans.
Col. John J. Flournoy, who lives in the big house in Petersburg, received a clock from Philadelphia two or three weeks ago, the first one in Boone County. People from far and near go to see the wonderful machine. Mrs. Parker's black man Jack, went to see it Sunday, and when he returned home he said he heard it strike seventeen times and still kept on clocking.
Our women are busy with spinning wheels and looms, making material to clothe the soldiers under Gen. Harrison and Dick Johnson.
Robert Mosby and Mary Spangler were married during the holidays. The bride was handsomely attired in a linsey dress of her own making, from the spinning wheel up. The groom looked every inch a man in his regulation suit of brown jeans. Robert Kirtley, the youthful pastor of Bullittsburg Church, performed the ceremony.
Kittlehead John Grant returned lately from the army near the Great Lakes, where he was shot in the knee by an Indian and disabled for further duty.
The keel boat Christopher Columbus, passed up from New Orleans to Pittsburgh last week, heavily loaded with sugar and molasses, 57 days out. It took three hours of hard pulling and cussing to get her through the swift water in front of Laughery bar.
Bears have been very destructive on hogs this winter. They raid somebody's hog pen almost nightly.
While Sam Johnson was breaking flax, the brush took fire and destroyed nearly everything around.
Expectation has been on tip-toe for some time on account of a report that a steam-boat would pass down the river on its way from Pittsburgh to New Orleans.
From old Kentucky history books, old papers, private diaries of men who explored the river front of Boone County I gain the following information:
During 1816 Mr. Meeks conducted a ferry across the Ohio river to what is now Rising Sun, Indiana. During the period between 1816 and 1840 a great number of salt agents and fur agents traveled the route from Cincinnati by way of Rising Sun, crossing the Ohio river at Meeks' ferry.
It so happened that two of these agents going in opposite directions met at the landing on the Indiana shore when one remarked, "Can you get anything to eat at Meeks' ferry?" The other replied, "Yes, plenty [of] rabbit hash." It was at this time that the Ohio river was just receding from flood water that had driven all the rabbits from the lowlands to the hillsides where they were killed in great numbers and used as food called "rabbit hash."
Rabbit Hash lost its name for a short period of time. In 1879 shefelt big enough to ask Uncle Sam to let her have a Post Office as ail other places in Boone County had one and why not she? So Uncle Sam granted her a Post Office on January 3, 1879, it was called Carlton, with Mrs. Elizabeth C. Kennon as Postmaster.
Where there is a cause there is surely an effect and no Rabbit Hasher or Carltonians received any mail. What was the cause? One man found the cause when lingering in Carrollton, Carroll County, Ky. and Uncle Sam advised a change of name in the Post Office and on the twelfth day of March, 1879, Uncle Sam had its baptismal name restored (Rabbit Hash) as a Post Office and it has retained this name to the present time. When the rural routes became popular about 1912 Uncle Sam discontinued the post office. The name Rabbit Hash will be here as long as Bunny exists. He still knows his way to the hillsidewhen the floods come.
HOPEFUL LUTHERAN CHURCH
Do you know the third oldest church in Boone County was erected at Hopeful in 1807 and if the building industry keeps going westerly as it has during the past four years, there is reason to believe that this territory which was a wilderness 150 years ago will become a part of the city of Florence in the not too-distant future.
What was here in 1807? Just a little log church and five log houses to accommodate a colony of religious home seekers that wished to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences, and clear the forests and make the land tillable so that they and their children would have a future home
We have past evidence that they did their part well. !n 1813 they employed Rev- William Carpenter as a regular pastor and in 1823 the congregation had so grown in numbers that a new and larger log church was built. Their minister, Rev. Carpenter, passed away in 1833.
The Rev. Jacob Crigler of Berlin, Pa. was called and became their pastor and remained there until 1842. It was during his time, 1837, that a brick church was erected. It continued to be used as a place of worship until 1917, when the f. resent church building was completed.
In searching over our records we find that Rev. Crigler was a faithful, progressive pastor. He was heartily in favor of preaching his sermons in English instead of German; although he formerly lived in the state of Pennsylvania, a state opposed to slavery, when he came here he purchased a slave woman named Tina for the sum of $180, on the 30th day of December, 1839. This slave had previously belonged to Joseph Kendrick and Jacob Clarkson.
Rev. Crigler after leaving Hopeful in 1842 went to Ohio and organized several Lutheran churches. He returned in 1845 to his farm near Hopeful, where he died in 1847.
During the autumn of 1790 two brothers, James and John Ryle with their families, a sister and a colored slave left North Carolina for Boone County, following the Daniel Boone trail. James, Jr., age 9, a son of James Ryle, rode on a horse all the way behind the colored slave. They arrived at Tanner's Station, (Petersburg) in his fort, and while there a daughter was born to James Ryle and wife, (Polly Ann Ryle) undoubtedly the first while child born in Boone county. When she became grown she married William Presser, and was the mother of the late Hogan Presser.
In the spring of 1791 they left the fort at Petersburg and located near the mouth of Middle Creek, where they remained for about two years, but the land being swampy they contracted fever and were compelled to seek higher ground, purchasing from the government a
great number of acres of hill land near Waterloo and Belleview at a low cost of 72 ½₵ per acre. A great part of this land is still in possession of the Ryle family.
As a whole all the former immigrants to Boone County were religious, the Ryle's united with the Buliittsburg Baptist church walking a distance of 14 miles to their church on Sunday, taking their dinner with them. This church was their place of worship until 1803, when the settlers along Middle Creek erected for themselves the old Middle Creek Baptist church. (Now called the Belleview Baptist church). A few of the settlers of Middle Creek in addition to the Ryle's were the Hogan's, Porter's, Presser's, Campbell's, and John Marshall who had fought in the French and Indian wars and died at the ripe old age of 91 years.
Leonard Stephens was the younger of two boys and was born in Orange Co., Va., March 10th, 1791 and died in Boone County, Ky. March 8, 1873. With the aid of his father and brother John, he erected a fine colonial mansion on the Richardson pike not far from the Boone County line and at that time the residence was in Campbell county, as Kenton county was not organized until 1840.
When Mr. Stephens came here with his father in 1807 there was no Williamstown, Dry Ridge, Walton or Florence. Cincinnati had two brick buildings, two frame buildings and a few log cabins. Burlington had a log court house, a log jail and a few cabins. Where Covington is now located we find that Thomas Kennedy had a stone residence at what is now Second and Garrard Streets. Mr. Kennedy also operated the ferry across the Ohio River and transferred the soldiers who took part in the Indian raids. His craft consisted of row boats for foot passengers and the cost per person was 12 cents. For carrying horses across he used large flat boats controlled by oars. In 1823 when the side wheel or treadle came into use, this mode of transportation was used until 1833, when steam ferry boats were used. This was the best crossing for travel of the inhabitants over the Ridge Road for the central part of the State.
Mr. Stephens represented Campbell County in the lower House of the General Assembly from 1823 to 1826 and the counties of Campbell and Boone from 1829 to 1833 in the Senate.
Mr. Stephens built his large brick home on the Richardson Pike with the assistance of his father and brother The bricks were made by them and this mansion was the high spot for Northern Kentucky politicians, who met with him in his mansion, then off to Big Bone Springs where the candidates for office would plan the strategy that was needed to become an orifice holder for the county or state. Big Bone Springs from 1815 up to 1845 was one of the best watering places and health resorts west of the Alleghany Mountains, an ideal place at the Clay Hotel (named forHenry Clay) for Mr. Stephens, who was always deeply engrossed in politics. When Kenton County was organized in 1840 he became the first high sheriff, he held the office of Justice of the Peace of Campbell County in 1839.
Mr. Stephens was a member of the old Dry Creek Baptist Church and took an active part in the proceedings of the Association, which was held there September 25 and 26, 1819. During April, 1855, letters of dismission were given to D. M. Scott, Benjamin Dulaney, Leonard Stephens, Henry Snyder, Sally Snyder, Polly Scott, and Louisiana Finch for the purpose of constituting a Church at Florence. We find later during the year 1855 seven others were dismissed in order that they might be received on application to the Florence Baptist Church. The names of the messengers that requested admittance into the Association
were Leonard Stephens and D. M.Scott. We further find that Mr. Stephens continued to represent the Florence Baptist Church as a Messenger to all the Baptist Association meetings until 1861
were Leonard Stephens and D. M.Scott. We further find that Mr. Stephens continued to represent the Florence Baptist Church as a Messenger to all the Baptist Association meetings until 1861
Mr. Stephens died March 8, 1873 (aged 82). He was laid at rest in a family cemetery near the colonial residence he built. The residence is now gone and a brick bungalow adorns the site.
FIGHTING NEAR FLORENCE
During the Civil War, great excitement was caused in Boone County when Gen. Kirby Smith marched his army in and around Lexington. Brig. Gen. Henry Heath with 5000 veteran Confederate troops from Gen. Smith's army was camped at Corinth and several companies had reached Snow's pond near Walton, thus threatening the three cities of Cincinnati, Covington and Newport.
Had Gen. Heath moved immediately upon these cities no doubt he could have captured them, but he was prevented by orders from Gen. Smith who held until Gen. Bragg, who had the main army and
was at the present time at Paris gave orders to move and Gen. Bragg failed to send such orders. In the meantime the people of Cincinnati were alert. Business houses closed and nearly all business suspended.
All male citizens, ministers of the gospel, old men, were forced into military service and drilling these undisciplined men was begun. Large earthworks were thrown up at Ft. Mitchell and at Ft. Perry in order to protect these three cities.
Gen. Lew Wallace was in command of all the forces around Cincinnati, September 15, 1862, his pickets encountered the Confederate advance guard at Florence, where an engagement took place between these two forces, and one man was killed. The Confederates fell back as far as Walton. A skirmish took place near here and one company of Union soldiers was captured and the regiment put to flight, retreating back to the entrenchments south of Covington.
Gen. Wallace then ordered several regiments to proceed out the Covington and Lexington Turnpike and when they arrived near Walton Gen. Basil W. Duke, with a regiment of Morgan's Confederate Calvary hastened up the Ohio River in order to make a crossing and threaten Cincinnati from the East, thus expecting to draw back the Union soldiers which were near Walton. The Union officers immediately sent two gunboats, the Belfast and Allen Collier to prevent this crossing, but the Confederates had howitzers and the gunboats fled down the river and out of range of the cannon fire.
A fierce battle was fought near Augusta, in which 125 home guards fought so bravely that Gen. Duke after losing 21 killed and 18 wounded fell back towards Brooksville and this ended any further threat by the Confederates.
DESTRUCTION OF A MILL
The story of the Civil War has been written and many books have been printed. These books cannot be large enough to contain all the incidents of local interest. To many people the community happenings are of most interest. One purpose of the Boone County Historical Society is to record as many of these incidents is can be found.
Kentucky tried to remain neutral, but she finally abandoned this position and, being a border state, she soon became a recruiting station and battle ground for both the North and South. We find Boone County men enlisting in the Northern army and in the Confederate army.
Sometimes brothers in the same family faced each other in battle.
Many slaves escaped or were stolen from their master and transported across the Ohio for enlistment in the U.S. Army. A bounty was offered for such enlistment. Reports indicate that this bounty was seldom collected. All captured slaves were ordered enlisted in Kentucky Regiments by the Provost Marshal of each County.
General Stephen Burbridge ordered the arrest of a number of citizens of Boone County because they had been reported as having sympathized with the South. Some were Dr. John Dulaney, Spencer Fish, Henry Terrill, Warren Rogers, Edmond Grant, James T. Grant, Julius Rouse, and George E. Rouse. Mr. Fish will be remembered as owning a great many acres of land west of Shelby street in Florence. At a very early date he formed the Fish Subdivision to the city of Florence. The City Clerk is trying to locate a copy of the plat of this subdivision. He would be glad to know where one can be found. Dr. John Dulaney was a practicing physician with wide practice throughout Boone County during the War.
Boone County borders on the Ohio River for about forty miles and since sympathy was divided, information was constantly conveyed to military authorities on both sides. The Federal headquarters at Fort Mitchell received much information concerning actions of southern sympathizers in Boone County.
General Lew Wallace, who commanded all of the forces in the area pressed all male citizens into the military services for the defense of Covington, Newport, and Cincinnati. Ministers of the Gospel and old men were not exempt from this service.
General Kirby Smith had marched his army in and around Lexington, Brigadier-General Heath, with 5,000 Confederate veterans from Smith's army was encamped at Corinth and several of his companies had reached Snow's Pond near Walton. At that time there were several mills in the country for grinding corn. The soldiers began searching for these mills.
Mr. Will Aydelotte told the writer that he was a boy of about ten years of age at the time. As he was helping his father cut wood along the Union-Florence road they saw many wagons drawn by four mules loaded with ground corn and slabs of bacon, on their way to Snow's Pond. General Heath's army was preparing to move as soon as sufficient supplies were on hand. There is no doubt but that General Smith felt that this twenty-mile distance on the Ridge Road was the logical way to advance on Covington, Newport, and Cincinnati.
Another means of securing food was from the mill on the farm of Julius Rouse, two and one half miles from Florence on the Burlington Pike. Here the advanced companies of Smith's army received a great many loads of ground corn and wheat. On September 15, 1862, the owners of the mill were arrested on the charge of aiding the Confederates and the officers of General Wallace blew the mill to atoms.
In 1902 the writer, while plowing, turned up debris of this mill about 200 yards from where it originally stood. There was but one thought that entered his mind and that was the poem in McGuffey's Fifth Reader entitled "The Battle of Blenheim." In it the grandfather saw his grandson roll something large and round and repeated, "Tis some poor fellow's skull, and when I go to plow, the plow share turns them out."
After the day’s work was completed, the mules stabled and fed and supper over, and everyone seated on a wooden bench on the front porch, the writer told his story of what his plow-share had brought up. The owner of the land in 1862 still owned it at the time in 1902. He began the story of the mill, "My father and I owned this mill and did general mill work, both in sawing lumber and grinding corn and wheat until it was blown to atoms on September 15, 1862. We were arrested with several others and taken to Lawrenceburg, Indiana, and put in a prison camp."
The above statement suggested a question and answer procedure in an effort to get the details of the destruction of the mill. Here is the story.
Question. "Did you grind corn for Smith's army?"
Answer. "It was for the soldiers at Snow's Pond."
Q. "Where were you when the mill blew up?"
A. "I was standing on the back porch under guard and saw the mill go up and debris go in all directions."
Q. "What happened after the mill was blown up?"
A. The man returned and said, "We want to search your house as we understand you have a gun and pistol in your bedroom."
Q. "Did you show any disposition to prevent the search?"
A. "No, they seemed to know exactly where the gun and pistol were hidden."
Q. "What happened after the search?"
A. "They came out on the porch with the gun and pistol."
Q. "What happened to the gun and pistol?"
A. "One of the men asked me if the gun was loaded."
Q. "State what you told him."
A. "I told him the gun was not loaded."
Q. "What did he then do?"
A. "He stepped off the porch and fired it into the air."
Q. "What effect did this have on you?"
A. "I was wishing all the time that it had been loaded to the end of the barrel."
Q. "What was the next procedure?"
A. "The officers then went to the barn and saddled a riding horse and had father and myself to accompany them, which we did."
Q. "Where did they proceed with you?"
A. "On leaving the farm the officers had us to ride ahead of them to the Burlington and Florence Pike, then we followed the pike to Limaburg, and we were held there until two of the officers went beyond Burlington and returned with several men. Then we followed the Limaburg and Hebron road to the farm of (the writer here will blank the name). The officers were treated to a pitcher full of cold water and cake. A lengthy conversation took place, then we moved forward to Hebron. When we reached Hebron we turned left and followed the road towards Petersburg until we reached Bullittsburg where we were halted again, and several officers reconnoitered and came back with several men. Then we began our journey forward and finally crossed the Ohio River and were put in a prison camp near Lawrenceburg, Indiana. Tents were used for sleeping and shelter."
Q. "What opinion did you have of a military prison camp?"
A. "Well it would do all right but every Sunday visitors came in roaming about and would pull back the flaps of our tents and stare at us as if we were wild animals."
Q. "How long were you in the prison camp?"
A. "About two weeks and then we were sent to Cincinnati and we sent for an influential citizen who resided at Hebron, Boone County, to come over and he came over and through him we took the oath of allegiance to the U. S. Government and were told then to go home. After the return home an organization was established among a goodly number of these men so that when they became drafted they could pool their money and purchase a substitute. Several of these men were drafted, but evaded service in this way, yet by skillful manipulation substitutes seldom received what was allotted for them. One man, who was treasurer of the above organization, told the writer that he had in his possession oft times as much as $5,000 for the purpose of purchasing substitutes.
Note: The mill was on Gunpowder Creek a short distance below where the Florence-Burlington Pike crosses the creek. The bridge there is known as the George Rouse bridge.
LARKIN VAUGHN KILLED
We had the opportunity to have a chat with William Aydelotte, a man that was born in Florence on September 14, 1851. Although old in years, Mr. Aydelotte's mind is keen and he can give much information in reference to Boone County, as we can readily see that he was ten years old when the Civil War broke out and remembers quite well that he and his father were cutting wood on the Union pike, when a company of Union soldiers were retreating back toward Ft. Mitchell, and in trying to cover their retreat kept firing along the Lexington pike. At the junction of Shelby Street and the Lexington pike Larkin Vaughn was shot and died as he was being carried to a nearby house.
He also stated that the Confederate soldiers did not attempt to go any farther than the intersection of the Union pike with the Lexington pike, then wheeled to the left and went out the Union pike with a dozen wagons. In about three hours they returned with their vehicles loaded with ground corn and wheat and a great number of sides of bacon. The camp was located at Snow's pond near Walton.
The first house built in Florence was opposite the school at the junction of Oblique and Center Streets.
The writer has a record of the boy who lived in this house during the Civil War and helped carry Larkin Vaughn from the junction of Shelby and Main Streets when he was shot by a stray bullet from the advance guard of Gen. Wallace's army stationed at Ft. Mitchell. After the Civil War was over John Latham purchased this house and moved it to the corner of Oblique Street and Burlington Pike, when it was used as a barn. It was later torn down.
BIG BONE LICK
From 1754 to 1763 the colonies hesitated to follow up their explorations in the Ohio Valley on account of the French and Indian war, but at its close we find Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia still encouraging the settlement of this vast territory.
Col. Geo. Croghan, an Indian agent, in 1765 visited Big Bone Lick and encamped there. Eight years later Virginia sent the following company of men: Thomas Bullit, Hancock Taylor, Robert McAfee, Simon Kenton, and James Douglas. We are indebted to Mr. Douglas for the records he kept of what he saw at Big Bone Lick. He says, "The Lick constituted about 10 acres, bare of trees, no herbage of any kind, three flowing springs whose waters would produce one bushel of salt to every 550 gallons of water, also a large number bones so large and long that he used the ribs for tent poles."
There have been four collections of these bones. The first collection was made in 1803 by Dr. Goforth who sent it to England where it was divided into three parts, viz: One part to the Royal College of Surgeons in London, one part to Dublin, Ireland, and the other to Edenburgh, Scotland.
The second collection was made by order of President Jefferson in 1805, this collection was divided between the America Philosophical Society and the French Naturalist, Mr. Cuvier. The third collection, 1819, by the Western Museum Society. The fourth in 1831 by Mr. Finnell, who sold the same for $2,000 to a Mr. Graves, who resold to a firm in New York, for $5,000. It has been estimated that the bones oi at least 100 mastodons, 25 elephants and other animals were collected in the above four collections. No place in America (except Boone county) can boast of the findings of remains of pre-historic animals as were found in the above four collections. Undoubtedly these animals were in search of salt and as Mr. Douglas says, "The land being marshy they became mired in the mud and died of exhaustion, thus leaving many of their bones in an upright position."
BIG BONE LICK
The following article was prepared by A. M. Yealey of Florence, after Big Bone was chosen as one of the sites for the proposed State Park. Many interesting historical events are outlined by Mr. Yealey in the following article:
Big Bone Lick has long been remembered for its salt springs, the depository of bones of animals of the glacial age in North America and its geographical surroundings.
Twenty years ago the writer published articles stating that M. Longueil was the first white man to visit the Lick, 1739. We should know that the French and Indian wars that were fought in the Ohio Valley from 1744 to 1783 prevented settlements in this region, and those that were getting a foothold were attacked and plundered.
Robert Smith, a frequent visitor at the Lick lived in the village of Pickwithanny. This hamlet was situated on the Big Miami River near Urbana, Ohio. Mr. Smith was a frequent visitor at the Lick from 1744 to 1751 and was the first person to realize the value of those large bones, and he had transported quite a number of them to the village where he lived when the French and Indians plundered and destroyed the village. There is no doubt that Mr. Smith, being the first visitor that knew these bones would be of great value to the twin sciences, viz. Geology and Paleontology had the choice and selected the best. So we may conclude that the first choice was lost or destroyed.
From 1751 to 1780 Big Bone had a great number of visitors. Christopher Gist, who was employed by the Ohio Land Company of Virginia, John Findley a fur trader, Mary Ingles the first white woman in Kentucky, George Croghan, a Kentucky explorer while here collected a great number of bones. During this period Kentucky was a county of Virginia and surveyors were sent to make land surveys. Therefore John Floyd and William Preston, surveyors of Fincastle County, Virginia made the first land grant surveys in 1774.
At the close of the French and Indian war the King of England gave the governor of Virginia the power to give grant land to American soldiers who fought for her during the last war against the French.
Thomas Jefferson was governor of Virginia during 1779 and 1780, and he made a land grant of 1000 acres to William Christian- This grant included all the springs, being the same tract surveyed by John Floyd in 1774.
Mr. Christian did not hold this land very long. In 1780 he sold the same to David Ross, a good friend to Jefferson. Mr. Ross was a real estate operator and held title to about 100,000 acres of land in Ohio and Kentucky. Most all this land was obtained by the purchase of grant lands that were sold by American soldiers, who had received them under the King of England's proclamation.
Mr. Rose finally got in debt so much that he was forced to dispose of the Big Bone tract. Therefore in 1806 he sold this tract to Wilson Allen, Edmund Rootes and Jacob Myers, but held possession of it (through the influence of Thomas Jefferson, who then was president of the United States) until 1808.
Mr. Ross then gave the president permission to make further search for these bones. The president then ordered Geo. Rogers Clark to have his brother William Clark and Meriwether Lewis, who had just returned from their famous expedition to the Oregon Territory, to employ laborers and collect as many of these bones as possible.
After three weeks' work, Mr. Clark shipped three large boxes of bones to Mr. Jefferson by the way of New Orleans. One of these boxes was opened and put on display in the White House, the other boxes were given to the Philosophical Society in Philadelphia and the National Institute of France, in Paris.
During the month of August, 1808, Mr. Ross completed his deal with Allen, Rootes and Myers, who became the owners. They did not fancy this wilderness and held the ownership but one year, 1809, and sold the tract to Mr. Colquohoun, who purchased it for the purpose of establishing a salt industry.
Salt had been manufactured here since 1756, but the cost was about $4.00 per hundred-weight, which proved too high to be exported. Mr. Colquohoun thought he could reduce the cost of manufacture, and built two fine furnaces and mounted kettles that would hold from 15 gallons of water to one hundred gallons, but all his work w as in vain. He found the great distance over bad roads made it too expensive. Mr. Tanner's shop book shows that he purchased salt on the Cincinnati market in 1812 at a cost of $2.94 per barrel, or about 1 ¼c a pound. This was the end of the salt industry at Big Bone, but the salt industry and the large bones had advertised and made the Springs known for their medical value through Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.
A large hotel was built and called the Clay Hotel (named for Henry Clay). From 1815 to 1845 Big Bone was one of the best watering places and health resorts west of the Alleghany Mountains, equipped
with a fine hotel, a long row of bath houses, a large open pavillion.
Here in the evening we find the Negro slave fiddling the old Virginia reel, while his dancers and audience consist of representatives of the best families in Ohio and Indiana who came by steamboat on the Ohio River, landing at Hamilton, then traveling afoot or by hack to the Spring. But it was different with the bluegrass families. They came in their family coaches with their slave drivers and servants. It was not only a short visit, a great many spent the entire summer here.
Mr. Leonard Stephens, who became the first sheriff of Kenton County in 1840 was always deeply engrossed in politics from 1825 to 1845, made it his political domicile and all the politicians over the state would meet him there lo plan the outlook for Northern Kentucky. We have records of the Clays, Breckenridges, Marshalls, Johnsons, and many others who sought his political advice here.
The old hotel has disappeared, but another was built about 1870 on a hill above the road north of the springs. This was once very popular but it has been rapidly decaying perhaps today is entirely gone.
Boone County was organized in 1798 and we have given you the owners up to 1810. Therefore you should be able to find all owners since then at the court house.
The county being organized, representatives from Virginia began to invade the country for the purpose of seeking suitable places for settlement. We find in 1804 that William Carpenter, a preacher from Madison, Va, made a journey to our county for such a purpose, and on his return home he advised his friends that Boone county was an ideal place, and on October 8th, 1805, Geo. Rouse, Elizabeth Rouse, Jno. House, Milly House, Frederick Zimmerman, Rose Zimmerman, Ephriam Tanner, Susanna Tanner, John Rouse, Nancy Rouse, and Elizabeth Hoffman, packed their belongings in covered wagons, trudging down the Shenandoah Valley until they came to the Holston river, then up that river until they came to the road that Daniel Boone had made, which they followed to Lexington. From there they followed the ridge route or what we call the Dixie Highway, finally locating where the Hopeful church now stands.
It is difficult for us to conceive the hardships that were endured by
these families in a wilderness of beech forest. Florence had no existence, where Covington is now situated there was one log cabin. Cincinnati had two brick buildings, two frame buildings, and a few log cabins. Burlington had a log court house, a log jail, and a few cabins. These hardy settlers with two utensils, the ax and grub-hoe, felled the trees erected cabins and prepared the soil for cultivation and were so pleased with the results of their labor and the location, that they encouraged John Beemon, Daniel Beemon, Jacob Rouse, Michael Rouse and Simeon Tanner to locate here in 1806.
The above families were also a religious people and felt the need of a place to worship God. Therefore Geo. Rouse gave an acre of ground on which to build a church of un-hewn logs. The roof and door were made of clapboards, the floor with puncheons and the seats were made of saplings, there was an opening left at each end for a window, but these were always open for the want of glass. There was no stove no fireplace, and yet they always met for worship during the winter.
Mr. Ephriam Tanner seems to have been their leader in the religious worship in absence of a regular minister and without a doubt he must have been a man of strong character and far-reaching influence to have held his flock together until 1813, when Rev. William Carpenter (the man who advised the settlement) moved here and became their first regular pastor.
Boys and girls of today, do you realize that the above pioneers are your ancestors, and that several of them fought in the Revolutionary War and witnessed the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown?
I fear that we are too prone to forget the inconveniences and privations our ancestors endured for our welfare.
Reading material was very scarce in our County from 1762 to 1799. During that period Cincinnati had two papers, one the Freemans Journal and Cincinnati Sentinel. They were published weekly or monthly according to amount of paper they had, and at the close of 1799 they quit and the Western Spy and Hamilton Gazette were issued in their place and these two papers issued a weekly copy until 1814 when the Western Spy assumed the name of Cincinnati Republican.
The press, from 1814 to 1840, began to take sides in politics and three papers advocating Whig candidates were founded, viz: Cincinnati
Gazette, Cincinnati Chronicle and Cincinnati Republican. These three papers had a daily circulation of 2000. The one that advocated the Democratic cause was the Cincinnati Advertiser and Journal with a circulation of 400. There were also two neutral papers published daily called the Daily Times with a circulation of 1500 and the Public Ledger whose patrons numbered 1400. These last two papers had correspondents in Boone County who gave them the general news. Remember, Kenton County had not been organized and our information was through the Cincinnati papers.
The school books that your grandparents studied consisted mainly of the Eclectic School Books which were the primer, spelling book, first, second, third and fourth readers, Ray's arithmetic and Mansfield's grammar. All these books were published in Cincinnati by Truman and Smith on Main St., and used in the Boone County schools in 1835.
We shall now give you some of the news that our Boone County ancestors read in the Western Spy from 1799 to 1814.
Obituary of Mrs. Martha Washington states she died on May 22nd, 1802 after 17 days illness. One-half column of the Spy, containing the details, shrouded in mourning. Andrew Jackson, (Old Hickory) advertises his negro slave, (George) as having eloped from his plantation, fifty dollars reward April 26, 1802.
No Spy published for the last 3 weeks for want of paper, May 27th, 1803. No mail for 3 weeks, there is great dissatisfaction and with good cause.
The first sea vessel passed Peterbsurg April 27, 1801, called the "Bright St. Clair" 100 tons burthen. This vessel was so well constructed that it could cross the Atlantic Ocean.
A remarkable kind of fish caught in the Licking River, it had no scales. (Writer's opinion, a catfish).
To our country subscribers: The printers of the Spy want some turnips and potatoes for which a reasonable price will be paid.
In reference to a letter I received I shall attempt to answer the question "How did Belleview receive its name and why was the post office called Grant?"
During research study I find the spelling of this word "Belleview" has been spelled as follows: In early times "Belleview," I have maps and papers, 1880, which spell it "Bellevue," and during the past 75 years it has taken its early spelling "Belleview."
Collin's history, 1870, lists the spelling "Belleview" with a population of 61. At this time we had a Belleview in Campbell County with a population of 381 and a Belleview in Christian County with a population of 140, but my historical atlas, 1890, lists Belleview, Christian County, with a population of 3,163 and having a post office.
My morning paper "Cincinnati Enquirer" February 25th, gives a basketball score as "Boone County 62, Bellevue 47."
In seeking information why Belleview was so named I have enriched my knowledge in reference to the early incidents that took place from 1770 to 1815 along the river front from Taylorsport to Rabbit Hash. We were surprised to know who held some of these land grant and who became owners later by purchasing small tracts that were in the former land grants. Also, the names of a great number of surveyors who laid out the boundaries containing these tracts. This information is a great help in understanding why places are so named.
From 1780 to 1793 and later, the Indians committed many depredations by massacuring the white settlers and stealing their horses. For protection against these crimes warning bells were erected at convenient distances on the hillsides which gave a good view of the rivers thus detecting any Indians crossing from the Indiana side, thus the alarm was given to settlers.
Therefore we have the word Belle, a beautiful sounding vessel shaped like a pear, and the word View, to behold, to see, to inspect, a mental survey — Belleview.
There being other towns in the state pronounced the same or spelled the same Uncle Sam established the post office as Grant on July 15, 1869, with Jesse Hewitt as postmaster. So named in honor of J. Grant who owned much land where Belleview is now located.
You should know Tanner's Station was protected by guards after 1791 and these guards used different signals, but the bell was the most sounding instrument used in giving warning to the settlers along this river frontage.
A chapter on the early mail service of our county is quite interesting and we can see the great improvement from year to year in this department of our National Government.
We shall now give you the names of some of the first Post Offices established in our county and the first Postmaster.
The first Post Office established in our county was at Gaines Ford Road July 4th, 1815. The name was changed to Gaines Cross Roads Feb. 23, 1823, and to Walton Oct. 30, 1841 and the first Postmaster was James M. Gaines. Mr. Gaines was the eighth voter on August 4, 1845 to cast his ballot for John P. Gaines for congress and James N. Stephens for the State Legislature. John P. Gaines at that time was enrolled as a soldier in the Mexican War. He lost this race but Mr. Stephens was elected.
The second Post Office was established at Petersburg November 6, 1819 and the first Postmaster was John J. Flournoy who lived in the big house at Petersburg and owned the first clock in Boone County and people came from far and wide to hear it strike the hours.
Burlington Post Office was established November 10, 1823 and the first Postmaster was Charles Chambers. Mr. Chambers was a member of the convention that framed the Constitution of Kentucky in 1849 and was elected as a state senator in 1859.
Florence Post Office was established April 27, 1830 and the first Postmaster was Pitman Clondas. He was associated with Thomas Madden and purchased land in Florence when it was known as Cross Roads and he also became the first trustee of the town when it was incorporated in 1830.
Post Offices changed names quite frequently in early times and very often they were cut out entirely. I shall try to give you a list of those that were in existence in 1850 in our county. (In addition to the four with the dates of establishment), Elijah Creek, Hamilton, Middle Creek Mills, Mitchellville, Union, and Verona.
During 1790 they were only 75 Post Offices in the United States but by the great improvement of Post Roads they increased rapidly and in 1850 we had 19,000 Post Offices.
During 1874 there were eleven Post Offices in our county: viz: Bullittsville, Burlington, Constance, Florence, Grant, Hamilton, Hebron, Union, Petersburg, Verona, and Walton and of all the Post Offices in our county at that time not one had the right to issue money orders.
The first Post Office at Florence was located at the junction of Banklick and Main St. (building now gone) a short time later it was moved across the street on the opposite corner (building now gone). This building was a large frame structure and was known as the Boone Hotel and had a great number of sleeping rooms on the second floor. It remained here a long time but Post Masters became gifts by political parties during those days and it was moved to the R. Scott drug store on Main St. opposite Youell St. (building now gone). During his time 1869, the I. O. O. F. building was completed and it was moved here. It remained here quite a time but was, for political reasons moved again to the store room now occupied by James Tanner. It has made five changes since and we find it in 1952 located on Main Street, opposite Shelby Street.
The Post Office was elevated to Second Class on July 1, 1949, having reached the required yearly gross receipts of $8,000.00. Having reached this mark it was necessary to hold that figure for two successive years in order to hold the rating of Second Class. This was accomplished under Postmaster Fanny L. Scott, who served the office for seventeen years.
The office took up its quarters at its present location, 313 Main Street in the Building & Loan Building on December 19, 1949. It was only through the untiring efforts of the Postmaster and the cooperation of Congressman Brent Spence that the new quarters, so badly needed were secured.
Due to ill health, Postmaster Fanny L. Scott, resigned her position and the office was turned over at the close of business on June 30, 1951 to the regular clerk, Lawrence L. Aylor, who was promoted to acting Postmaster.
On March 1, 1952 President Truman nominated several persons in Kentucky to the Senate for approval to be appointed Postmaster. On March 12, 1952 the appointment was confirmed nominating Lawrence L. Aylor, Postmaster of Florence, Kentucky. Mr. Aylor has served in the capacity of Local Secretary for the United States Civil Service Commission in this area for the past two years, in addition to his other required duties.
Assistant to the Postmaster is the Senior Clerk, Mrs. Thelma M. Smith along with Sub-Clerk, Mrs. Garnet Lucas. Recently a Temp-Sub-Clerk, Shelley H. Aylor, was appointed to serve in the absence of the Postmaster, for annual leave and for emergencies. The office is served by two Rural Routes. Rural Route 1 being served by Roy C. Lutes and
Rural Route 2 by William L. Oliver. Mail between Florence and Union, Kentucky, has been handled under contract for many years by Star Route carrier A. M. (Buddy) Stephenson, of Union, Kentucky, who also serves patrons on the way to Union who desire Star Route service each morning. Mr. Claude Patterson of Burlington, serves the Star Route which originates at Grant, Kentucky. Mail from there also with the mail from Burlington, Union, and Florence, is carried by Mr. Patterson to Erlanger, Kentucky, which in turn finds its way to either the Greater Cincinnati Airport, in the case of Air Mail, and regular mail and parcel post is picked up there by Covington and is taken to the Cincinnati Annex for distribution. The Florence office is used as a separation point for all incoming mail destined for Burlington, Union or Grant, Ky.
Two other part time employees not mentioned in the above paragraph, serve Rural Routes as substitutes in case of sickness or annual leave. L. Clifford Tanner is the substitute to serve in the absence of Roy C. Lutes on Rural Route 1, and Shelly H. Aylor is the substitute who was appointed to serve Route 2 in the absence of William L. Oliver.
Having received several letters in reference to the manufacture of salt in 1756 by the Indians and in 1812 by the whites in "Chapter of first things in Boone County." The questions asked were, "Why was this discontinued?" The writer will answer this question briefly by saying the cost of manufacturing salt was almost $4 per hundred weight at Big Bone Lick, which proved too high to be exported.
It took about 550 gallons of this water to produce one bushel of salt (80 Ibs). The first mode of manufacture was to fill kettles with this water and hang them over an open fire, very often in their crude cabins. In this way it took about a month to make one bushel of salt but later we find that trenches about four feet deep were dug and large copper kettles holding 25 gallons of this water would be placed on this trench. As many as ten would be placed side by side and the interstices between them would be stopped by flat rocks and clay. In this way a furnace was constructed and a fire was maintained in both ends, day and night. This mode reduced the expense about 50 percent or to about $2.00 per hundred weight but the cost of cutting and transporting the fuel and the weakness of the brine made it unprofitable.
We have in our possession Ephriam Tanner's shop book and find where he purchased salt in Cincinnati for $2.94 per barrel (280 lbs.) September, 1815. Mr. Tanner at that time lived between Florence and Union. We can readily see the salt only cost him about 1 cent a pound yet at Big Bone the cost of manufacture was nearly 5 cents per pound. Other reasons why the manufacture was discarded at the Licks was the development of the salt spring at Mayslick and Bluelick on the Licking river. Bullits Lick on Salt River near Louisville was well developed and the brine at this place was very strong and as high as 50 furnaces were built. At one time 600 men were employed and the price of salt came down where the cost of manufacture was about 1 ¼ cents a pound. No doubt if the wells at Big Bone Lick had been bored deeper a better grade of brine would have been obtained, but transportation of material for the development of the salt works there was difficult and we often wonder how these old pioneers did the wonderful things which they accomplished having nothing to work with except a hoe, ax, mall and shovel.
We must infer from the ending of the word that it derived its name from the animal called beaver. The word lick signifies a place where natural salt is found and wild animals come to lick it up. Beaver Lick is at the junction of two roads, one leading to the salt springs of Big Bone Spring. This junction is one place in Boone County where trappers and pioneers of the streams and forest brought their fur and sold it to agents who represented one of the six fur companies who were doing business in the Ohio Valley from 1780 to 1820.
The agents representing the different companies were able to detect a pelt that was prepared out of season, or killed in any month that had the letter R in it. That is the reason that these appointments were always made during the month of May.
Most all the pelts in Boone were sold to agents who represented the Missouri Fur Company at St. Louis.
These furs and pelts purchased in Boone County were transported by horseback to some convenient loading place on the Ohio River, then shipped by boat to St. Louis.
During the year 1790 William Underhill and wife left Pennsylvania, passing down the Ohio river in a house boat and made a landing near Taylorsport. A family by the name of Craig had previously located here and in a conversation with Mr. Underhill, Mr. Craig learned that he was a shoe maker and insisted that he remain and make shoes for his family and some 20 slaves which he owned, other settlers hearing of a shoe maker being here gave Mr. Underhill all the work he could do and he decided to build himself a cabin and make Boone County his future home, which he did. While here a son John was born November 18, 1798 (the first white child born in the county after it was organized). In later life this boy studied for the ministry and preached at the Gunpowder church for more than fifty years.
While living near Taylorsport Mr. Underhill had considerable experience in Indian warfare, as the Indians molested the whites along the river during the period of 1791 and 1792, and on one occasion a band of them crossed the river on the Boone county side and Mr. Underhill aroused the settlers to arms and the Indians were forced to re-cross the river in their canoes, and thinking that the white man's rifle could not reach them, gave a war-whoop and howled vile epithets at the white men when one Lewis Fitzgerald (nephew of Mrs. Underhill) called to them and said he would accommodate them and laying his gun on one of his comrades shoulders took a steady aim and when the gun cracked the Indian fell. The Indians then gathered their comrade up and retreated back in the forest. To stop these raids the settlers formed a company and called it the Squirrel Hunter's Brigade and chose Mr. Underhill their leader and marched to Chillicothe, Ohio, where the Indians had their village, but the Indians had left on their approach, but the whites set fire to their wigwams and cut down their corn, after that they were not molested by the Indian raids.
Mr. Underhill moved his family from Taylorsport about the year 1894 to the forks of Gunpowder and settled on what is now known as the Onnie Rouse farm, but was ousted by an older claimant. He then moved to what is known as the Weaver farm but was again ousted. He then moved to the farm west of this and while living here another son Thomas was born March 6, 1811. He got a good title to the last farm and at his death his son John got possession of it and it is still known as the Underhill farm.
Few people of Boone County know that a survey was made of Gunpowder for a railroad by the Weaver and Crisler Mills. Moses Fray in 1810 also owned a mill near where the Gunpowder Baptist Church is situated. Mr. Tanner's shop book speaks quite often in reference to the repair work he did for Mr. Fray's Mill. Mr. Fray disappeared from that locality about 1828. The writer found his field tomb stone with his name carved thereon, buried beneath a foot of soil in a private cemetery on the farm once owned by Spencer Smith. (Perhaps the Crisler Mill was the same mill once owned by Mr. Fray.) The survey of this railway connecting Covington and Louisville brought Nelson Lloyd, a civil engineer from Bloomfield, New York, to assist in this work, but a financial panic during 1853 and 1854 stopped this project and Mr. Lloyd and wife remained here and followed the teaching profession. After teaching at Petersburg and Burlington he located at Florence and became town clerk and taught the higher branches of school work in the old town hall. Two of the boys (John Uri and Ashley) were born in New York, Curtis was born in Florence in 1859.
MOSES SCOTT'S CIRCULAR LETTER, SEPTEMBER 26, 1819
[Written to the Baptist Churches of Northern Kentucky]
Very Dear Brethren:
Through the kind providence of our God we have been permitted to fulfill our appointment, and we desire to thank the great Head of our church, that our business has been conducted with that apparent degree of peace, love and harmony which has heretofore manifested themselves in the deliberation of the North Bend Association, and which we hope are the fruits of the Spirit.
Although our hearts may not have been so much engaged, nor our affections raised so high in love and gratitude to God as we could wish, and as has been the case on former occasions of this kind, in consequence of very numerous additions being made to the churches yet when we hear the generality of them say: "We are at peace among ourselves;" when we hear them lamenting and moaning over their own coldness, barrenness and unfruitfulness in religion, and at the same time expressing ardent desires to be led, guided, quickened, animated and protected in the way of holiness, we must acknowledge (however cold our hearts may feel) that these things ought to excite increasing gratitude and love to God from every son and daughter of Zion. Oh
that God would prosper Zion and prosper us in her ways and love. In the sweat of his brow the husbandman tills his land, casts his seed into the ground, where for a short time it lies dead and buried, a dark and dreary winter succumbs, and all seems lost, but at the return of spring, universal nature revives and the once desolated fields are covered with grain, which when matured by the sun's heat, the reapers cut down, and it is brought home with shouts of joy. Here, O disciple of Jesus behold an emblem of thy present labor, and thy future reward, thou sowest perhaps in tears, thou doest thy duty amidst sickness, pain and sorrow, thou laborest in the church and no account seems to be made of thy labors no profit seems likely to arise from them. Nay, thou must thyself drop into the dust of death and all the storms of that winter pass over thee until thy form shall be finished, and thou shalt see corruption, yet the day is coming when thou shalt reap in joy, and plentiful will be that harvest, even complete redemption from sin death and hell. For thus your Lord and Master went forth weeping, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, bearing precious seed and sowing it around him, till at length his own body, like a grain of wheat, was buried in the furrow of the grave, but he arose and is now in heaven, from whence he will certainly come again rejoicing with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God, bringing his sheaves with him. Then shall every man receive the fruit of his works and have praise of God.
MOSES SCOTT, Moderator
ABSALOM GRAVES, Clerk.
BEGINNING OF FLORENCE
Why was this village located here?
Whowere the people that thought this a good place for a town?
How came it to be called Florence?
Does it grow in population or stand as when first incorporated?
After considerable research study we find it was called Cross Road and took it name from the intersection of the roads to Union and Burlington with the Ridge Road (now the Dixie Highway). During the period 1815 to 1820 the Wilhoit family, the Crisler family and Conner family emigrated here and purchased land and in 1821 a young lawyer by the name of Thomas Madden came here from Covington, Ky., and saw the possibility of the beginning of a large town on account of the
cross roads and purchased the farm from Joshua Zimmerman at junction of the Price Pike with the Burlington Pike. Mr. Madden in connection with Wilhelm Wilhoit, Henry Crisler, and Jacob Conner laid out the village and it was called Maddentown, but a year after Mr. Madden sold his land and the name was changed to Connersville (named for Jacob Conner) as he owned considerable land. It was called Connersville until 1829 when the U. S. Government then established the first Post Office here and requested a change in name as there was another Connersville in the State.
The village had previously organized and trustees elected but it was not incorporated. Therefore, the trustees held an election for the purpose of finding a suitable name for the village. Twenty-five votes were cast, 16 for the name Florence and in 1830 it was incorporated by an act of the Legislature of Kentucky. The Post Office was then established and located at the junction of Banklick St. and Dixie Highway. Pitman Clondas became the first Postmaster.
At this time, 1830, the population was 63, in 1850 it was 252, in 1940 it was 800, and at present 1350, an increase of about 69% in the past 10 years. There is only one town in Northern Kentucky that has surpassed Florence. There is but one answer to its rapid growth in the past 10 years, and that is, " In all the affairs of life, social, religious, and political we find even in our Church institutions an affability which seems to say to everybody "Take a Light." May their number be greatly multiplied.
THE METHODIST CHURCH
We shall now give you a historical sketch of the old Methodist Church.
In research work we find that when Florence was incorporated in 1830 there were a few families living here that held to that faith and during the period from 1830 to 1842, the Craigs, Robinsons, Conners and Stansifers held meetings of this faith in the different homes and about four times a year a circuit rider would appear and conduct tent meetings or revival services.
The Kentucky Methodist Conference was established during 1820. About 37 years after Frances Clark began to have meetings of this faith in the homes of the people of Kentucky.
During the year 1798 the citizens of Bracken County secured from
the state 6000 acres of land for the purpose of establishing an academy and the trustees kept this land until it had increased in value and by 1822 the Kentucky Legislature granted this Institution a charter and a right to grant degrees. This was the first Methodist College in the U. S. and a very good one for that time. This Academy was a three-story building the first floor had a chapel thirty by forty feet, also two recitation rooms and on the third floor there were seven rooms, so we can readily see we were quite close to a Methodist Academy. During 1830 Rev. Gilby Kelly, Sr., had been presiding over the Covington District and had made frequent visits to Florence and Burlington, the latter place having been organized with Carrollton into one Circuit. Rev. Kelley failing in health moved to Burlington and died there in 1847, but previous to his death he helped organize the people of Florence who clung to the Methodist faith and a site on Banklick Street was chosen and purchased from Samuel Craig for the sum of $80.00. The deed was made July 18, 1842 to the following trustees: T. F. Robinson, Will Respess, Thos. H. Conner, Miacham Baston Robinson, John Stansifer and Lewis Conner.
The Craigs at this time had a saw mill that stood at the present junction of Banklick St. and Route 42. The congregation got busy and most of the lumber was prepared in this mill- The distance from where the mill stood to where the church was being erected being short it was an easy proposition to transport the lumber and the church was soon erected and continued to be the place of worship until 1943. Rev. Rose, pastor at that time, felt that after serving the public as a place of worship and badly needing repair, it would be expedient to erect a new edifice and a tract of land was purchased on the Dixie Highway and a brick building was completed in 1938 under the leadership of Rev. Rose. Here, 1950, the Methodist faith still continues to survive under the leadership of Rev. C. N. Ogg.
One of Boone county's outstanding citizens was John Norris. During the War of 1812 with Great Britain, Mr. Norris volunteered as a sailor at the request of Commodore Perry and assisted with great heroism in that glorious victory on Lake Erie, Sept. 10, 1813. Every school boy knows Perry's message to General Harrison, "We have met the enemy and they are ours — two ships, two brigs, one schooner and one sloop." In later years Commodore Perry had the
General Assembly of the state of Kentucky procure a gold medal for Mr. Norris in appreciation of his heroic services during this Naval battle. After the war was over he returned to Boone and farmed on an extensive scale. Being the owner of slaves he had much trouble with their escaping over the Ohio River then through Indiana by the way of Richmond, Ft. Wayne and South Bend. Mr. Norris and his agents made several trips, returning slaves belonging to him from the northern part of Indiana and always received very bad treatment from those that assisted his run-aways and he failed to get any satisfaction in the state courts.
During his last trip with slaves he had recaptured at South Bend, Indiana, and while returning with them he was attacked by a band of sympathizers of his slaves and they were taken from him by force. Realizing it was no use to sue in the state courts, he brought suit in the U.S. Circuit Court at Indianapolis against Newlan Crocker and others for his runaway slaves, which he had recaptured at South Bend and which they took from him by force. He recovered a judgment in this court in the sum of $2,800 and costs (about $2,000) but even these judgments were seldom of any value for the reason so many that assisted these run-aways were not responsible financially.
The Baptists were pioneers of religion in Kentucky. After the close of the American Revolution, a great number of Baptists came into Kentucky from Virginia and churches began to spring up everywhere in the wilderness. Before the houses of worship could be erected, the worshipers would assemble in the foreit, each man with his gun, while the minister, with a log or a stump for his pulpit and the heaven for his sounding-board, would preach the word of God.
In 1801 these churches became so numerous and their boundaries were so extensive, it was thought advisable to divide the Elkhorn Association and the North Bend Association was formed, including Boone and Campbell Counties, and the writer will give a short sketch of the minutes of the North Bend Association which was held on Sept. 25 and 26, 1819, at the Dry Creek Baptist Church in Campbell County.
We can locate the place where the church stood today by saying it was situated on Buttermilk pike, about the third house from the Dixie Highway.
There were 19 churches represented at this meeting, six being from Boone County, and we will just give the facts that applied to our county.
The messengers representing the different churches were: Bullittsville, Absalom Graves, James Dickenson, Robert Kirtley, Thomas Whitaker and Edward Graves; Middle Creek, Moses Scott, James Hawkins, Elijah Hogan and William Garnett; Mud Lick, James Finnell, Robert Finnell, and Philip Roberts; Gunpowder, William Rogers, Isaac Carlton, Lewis Conner, and Frances Craig; Sand Run, William Montague and Cave Johnson; Bethel, Presley Peak, David Baldwin, and Wm. Harrod.
The readers are familiar with the location of these churches unless it would be Bethel, which is situated on the Cleek farm about 1 mile from Union, on the Frogtown road, and has been converted into a barn. Where the rafters meet at the top, holes were bored through both and wooden pins were inserted in these holes to hold them in place. (It was built for strength and durability.)
Rev. Moses Scott was chosen moderator and Absalom Graves, clerk of the meeting and Rev. James Suggett of Elkhorn preaching the introductory sermon taking his text from John the 3rd chapter and 3rd verse. Rev. Lewis Conner delivered the Sunday sermon folio wing the two days meeting.
The records show that the next meeting was to be held at Middle Creek church on the fourth Friday of September, 1820, Wm. Montague of Sand Run to deliver the introductory sermon and in case of failure Absalom Graves of Bullittsville, and James Dickens of Bullittville, to write the circular letter.
Boone County having only six churches out of nineteen represented at this meeting, shows very plainly that during this early period her ministers had great influence, as they were called upon to perform the most arduous tasks. Moses Scott during this same period, 1819 to 1820, represented Boone county in the Lower House of the General Assembly, and also wrote the circular letter of the above meeting and the writer will have part of this letter appear in the next issue for its historical value.
The total membership of these 19 churches was 1370 and the membership of the six churches in Boone was 671. Bullittsville being the strongest in the Association with a membership of 267.
BOONE COUNTY JOURNAL
The people of Florence do not realize that the town had a newspaper during the 1870's. Ben Deering was editor of the Boone County Journal. Its slogan was "Independent in all things, neutral in nothing; hew to the line; let the chips fall where they may."
Our county Judge at this time was John S. Phelps; County Attorney, R. C. Green; County Clerk, L. H. Dills; Circuit Clerk, J. W. Duncan; Sheriff, B. K. Sleet; Coroner, James S. Shephard; Assessor, Edward Fowler. The officers of Florence at this time were F. H. Meyers, Police Judge; R. T. German, Marshal.
We shall now give you some of the local and personal news at that time:
R. P. Lodge, of the firm of Cowling and Lodge, pork dealers, Louisville, and his daughter Ida, are visiting Dr. Sayre and family. Mr. Lodge is suffering with a felon on his hand, which Dr. Sayer is treating.
Mr. Allen Wilhoit, one of the old and prominent citizens of the county, has been very sick for several weeks, and it is probable that his death will be recorded in our next issue. Last Tuesday religious services were held at his residence at which Rev. J. Reeves, officiated, assisted by Elder E. Stephens. A large number of friends were present. Mr. Wilhoit has no hope of longer life and is prepared and willing to go when the summon shall come. His two sons, William and Merriman from Missouri, arrived yesterday.
We are indebted to Captain Finch of this place for a late Kansas paper from which we learn that the West is threatened with devastation by the grasshoppers again this year.
A vast quantity of wool has passed through Florence this week going to the Cincinnati market.
As Albert Price attempted to mount his horse with a loaded shotgun in his hand at Cain's tollgate, on the Lexington pike, his saddle turned, throwing him to the ground, when both barrels of the gun exploded, some of shot striking Mr. Cain, John Wilson and John Conley, who where standing near, wounding them severely, but not seriously. Price was greatly frightened.
At a meeting of the North Kentucky Trotting Association, R. S. Strader was re-elected president; Volney Dickerson, vice president; Jacob Strader, secretary and treasurer; H. A. Hicks. L. H. Dills, Owen Gaines, John Horshall, Columbus Carlisle, Wm. N. Smith and Benj. H. Stansifer, Directors.
One of the older families to make early history of Kentucky and later Boone county history, was the Bradfords.
The forerunner of this family was John Bradford, born in Fauquier country, Virginia, in the year 1749. He married Eliza James of the same county, in 1771 and had five sons and four daughters. He served in the Revolutionary War, and came to Kentucky in 1779 and fought in the Indian War and took an exceptional part against the Indians and was with the Kentucky Volunteers at the battle of Chillicothe when the Indians were finally subdued. He also published the first paper west of the Alleghany Mountains, called, The Kentucky Gazette, in 1789. This paper was published for a long time on half sheet fools-cap. In coming to Kentucky Mr. Bradford's boat capsized while crossing a stream of water and he lost some of his type, and later to overcome this, he cut type out of dogwood, in order to continue the publication of his paper.
One of his sons, Charles Bradford, was born in 1793, and married Ann Corlis, but later in life emigrated to Florida, but his son, J. W. R. Bradford, who was born 1818, remained in Boone county and was united in marriage to Catherine Buchanan, who resided in Burlington, Kentucky, in 1848. To them were born Charles and William Respress Bradford. Charles the older, married Miss Mattie Talbort of Florence and William, the younger, married Anna Wightman at Harrodsburg These two boys will be well remembered as having made Florence famous by the manufacture of the Bradford buggies. This establishment was a two-story building divided into three departments, one for the woodwork, one for the painters, and one for the iron workers, and employed a great number of men, but new inventions produced a new way and faster way of travel and the auto put this busy enterprise out of commission. And thus Florence lost one of its best manufactories, but the painters wood-workers and iron workers were called to the cities, where the automobile is made and the building was wrecked. And now an oil station occupies the old site, and should the two boys, who have passed to that beyond, return, they would hardly realize the wonderful changes that have transpired and still are moving forward.
THE TANNER FAMILY
We often have been informed that of all surnames found, the Smiths rank first in number, but if you were to visit Boone and ask what surname has the advantage you would not hesitate to say Tanner. John Tanner was the first Tanner to settle in Boone County at Petersburg yet he left soon thereafter and one of his boys disappeared, being captured by Indians.
The German family of Tanners originally lived in Alsace and Robert Tanner with his wife and five children, one boy and four girls emigrated to Madison County, Virginia in 1717. Mr. Tanner's only son Christopher married Elizabeth Aylor and seven children were born to them, five boys and two girls. Frederick Tanner being one of these boys was the father of Ephriam Tanner the first Tanner to establish a sure foothold in our County. Mr. Tanner with his wife and three children came to Boone County in 1805 and had a large place in the pioneer development of Hopeful Church. He owned and built alog house which is still standing and in very good condition, considering the length of time—135 years since it was built. This log structure is located on what was once the Perry Utz farm Route 42.
Mr. Tanner was born Oct. 17th, 1778 and his wife Susanna House was born November 20, 1784. Eleven more children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Tanner after locating here, 7 of the family being boys and four girls, so we can realize that they became a large and growing influence in and around where Florence is today as their descendants are numbered by scores and by marriage they are related to nearly everybody in this community.
Mr. Tanner being a very religious man, had the colony of settlers that came here with him erect a log church which was made from un-hewn logs in 1807. This was the first Lutheran Church in Kentucky and perhaps west of the Allegheny Mountains. It was called Hopeful in the hope that their religious faith should be preserved. In 1823 another larger log structure was erected with hewn logs with an end gallery and a high pulpit, but the congregation increased so rapidly that in 1837 a brick building was erected.
All the bricks were made near the church. This building was in use until 1917 when the present building was erected.
THE STORY OF A SILVER HALF DOLLAR
Thomas Madden, one of the men who assisted in laying out the town of Florence owned the first tavern in the village and a family by the name of Williams had charge of it. During 1824 the Congress of the United States made a request to President Monroe that he invite Marquis de Lafayette to visit the United States. He arrived in New York on the 13th day of August, in 1824. He visited every state and most of the large cities. On his way from Cincinnati to Lexington by stage coach he stopped and dined at this tavern in Florence and left a half dollar to pay for his keep.
Mr. Yeaiey came into possession of this coin, which was coined in 1820, in 1900 through heirs of Mr. Williams. He holds it as a keep sake in memory of the commanding equestrian statue of Lafayette erected in the center of Paris, in the grounds of the Louvre. On the base of this statue we read this inscription, "Erected by the school children of the United States, in grateful memory of Lafayette, statesman, soldier, patriot."
A few days ago a youngster asked me this question: "How did the merchants get their stock of goods when their places of business were in such isolated places?"
This question will be answered in this chapter, by giving the experience of a traveling salesman, Gideon Burton, in his book "Reminiscences of Gideon Burton." He gives, in this book, his trip to Burlington, Boone county.
Me says when he was twenty years old his firm wanted him to take a trip West as a salesman. This was during the fall and winter of 1831. So he left Philadelphia November 10th by stage coach, and at the end of three days and nights he had reached Pittsburg, then Wheeling, Zanesvilie, Lancaster, Chillicothe, to Portsmouth, then to Cincinnati by boat where he made several sales. From Cincinnati he went to Lawrenceburg, Indiana. Here he got acquainted with Omer Tousey and purchased a horse of Noval Sparks; he than purchased a saddle, saddle bags, buffalo gloves and leggins, the last an article he had not seen before made of green baize, covering the leg from the foot to the knee. Mr. Tousey told him he had a cousin by the name of Erastus Tousey, located in business
at Burlington, Boone county, Kentucky. He then crossed the Ohio River at Lawrenceburg through floating ice and reached Burlington on County Court Day in December, 1831. After dinner at the Hotel, he called on Mr. Tousey, and Mr. Tousey asked him to come around about sunset. Mr. Burton did as requested and Mr. Tousey took him to his home and introduced him to his family and to a number of lawyers and doctors whom he had invited to meet him, and all had an excellent supper. After selling Mr. Tousey a good bill of goods, Mr. Burton retraced his steps to Lawrenceburg and continued his trip horse back to Rushville, Indiana. This is mostly the way goods were sold before Cincinnati became a wholesale city.
From the foregoing we see that firms in the east sent their representatives or salesmen to these isolated places because the merchants generally purchased in large quantities and the shipments were arranged so that it could be reached either at Cincinnati, Petersburg, Belleview or several other landing places along Boone county river frontage. Merchants then, with their horses hitched to covered wagons, would go to the place where the goods were delivered by boat, and haul them to their places of business. This mode of transportation was slow in 1831 as there were no stone roads, but most all of them were dirt roads and merchants saw to it that their winter shipments generally reached them in the month of August before the roads got impassable.
Among the early settlers of Boone County were Benjamin Stephens and two sons, Leonard and John, who came to Boone County from Orange County, Virginia, in 1807.
When the boundary line was established between Virginia and North Carolina by Dr. Thomas Walker in 1870, Benjamin Stephens was one of the men sent along as guard against the Indians. While on guard duty he carried on his horse a very short rifled gun with straps so he could swing it to his back. On account of its size, the officers on duty said it was of little value and made sport of it. Dr. Walker said to him, "We don't think much of your short gun." One day while surveying in a spur of the Cumberland Mountains in what is now Whitley County the officers called for the man with the short gun and said to him, "Do you see that turkey in that tall dead tree a hundred yards distant? A good target, try it with that short gun."
Mr. Stephens, becoming somewhat jittery at such difficult task and without hope of success, leaned his gun against a tree, took aim at the target high up in the tree and fired. The turkey fell dead, shot through the head. Dr. Walker spoke at once and said, "If his father had risen from the dead, and had told him he could kill that turkey with that thing he would not have believed him."
John Stephens was 22 years old and his brother Leonard was 17 years old when they came to Boone County in 1807 with their father. They built two brick homes and one of the two is still here and is owned by L. D. Rennecker on the Dixie Highway near Devon. Mr. John Stephens, the older of the boys, lived on the Ridge Road (now called Route 25). He took great interest in the development of Florence and owned much land at the junction of 25 and 42. On April 14 1842, we find where he and his wife, Frances, in consideration of one dollar gave a warranty deed for one fourth acre of land to William Nichols, John Stephens, James Varner, George McDonald and Thomas Sanford, trustees for the Church. This transaction occurred on April 14, 1842, but the deed was acknowledged and recorded May 25, 1844, Book O, Page 178.
We also find that the first persons who became members of the Church after it was constituted are as follows: Eliza Lamer, Wait Stephens, Wait Almeda, Jacob Shotts, Elenor Snyder, Mary Shotts, Philip and Annie Stoetger and Lucinda Aydelotte.
Mr. Stephens burnt all the brick for the two residences he built also the brick used in the building of the church. We have one brick that we found when the wall collapsed while the church was being remodeled a few years ago marked 1835. He also owned the land now occupied by the Florence cemetery, and it was sold to the City of Florence for the sum of $125 per acre by Ezra K. Fish and N. B. Stephens who became executors of the last will of Mr. Stephens whose death occurred in 1856.
Mr. John Stephens was the father of Ben Stephens, who in later years became County Judge and also represented Boone County in the General Assembly of Kentucky during the Taylor and Goeble Controversy over who was legally elected Governor. Goebel was killed during this perilous time at Frankfort, and the writer of this article suggested, to Mr. Stephens that he better come home. His remark was, "I will stay here (meaning at Frankfort ) till the stars fall.
Mr. John Stephens was united in marriage to Frances Faulconer who preceded him in death, having passed away April 22,1842. We visited the private burial ground where he was laid to rest back of the brick residence he constructed (which still stands) and this is what I found on his tombstone:
"In memory of John Stephens, born in Orange County, Virginia, March 2, 1785; died in Boone County, Kentucky, May 4, 1856; age 71 years, 2 months and 12 days."
JOHN P. GAINES
The life of John P. Gaines was the subject of a paper presented by Lucian Bradford, president of the Boone County Historical Society, at its recent meeting in the Burlington Court House.
The paper had been written by A. M. Yealey, former Florence High School principal and author of many articles on the history of the county.
Mr. Yealey is compiling a history of the county which is expected to be published in the near future. At a future meeting another paper will be presented giving further material about Governor Gaines.
Present at the last meeting were Mr. and Mrs. Ben F. Bedinger of Richwood. Mrs. Bedinger's maiden name was Gaines and she is a niece of Governor Gaines.
The paper on Governor Gaines follows in part:
During 1795 there was born at Augusta, Virginia (now West Virginia) a boy who not only helped to make history of Kentucky, but national history. This boy was John Pollard Gaines, who came to Boone county about 1808 and at the age of 17 enlisted as a soldier under William Henry Harrison during the war of 1812, and endured many hardships in the Michigan forests around Lake Erie.
At the close of the war he returned to his farm at Richwood where he became one of Boone county's early pioneer farmers and allied himself in a political way with the Whig Party and in 1825 he was elected to represent Boone county in the lower house of the General Assembly and so well did he perform his duties that the people continued to elect him to this office until 1836.
From 1836 to 1845 Mr. Gaines, in addition to farming, took an active part in politics and in 1845 made the race for Congress against John W. Tibbatts who was resident of Campbell county. Mr. Tibbatts was a congressman at this time, having in 1842 defeated William K. Wall,
prominent politician from Harrison county, by 343 votes in the whole congressionaldistrict. We have the old Poll Sheet at hand in the Florence Precinct and find that Mr. Gaines, on August 4, 5, 6 received (in those days elections were held for three days) 156 votes against Mr. Tibbatts 137 votes, but in the whole district was re-elected congressman.
"Mr. Gaines escaped and joined the forces of Gen. Scott which were marching toward the Mexican capitol and had the honor of being the only volunteer from Kentucky who helped in the famous charge at Chapultepec, Churnbusco and the Wall of Mexico.
"On March 1, 1848, the Legislature put the following on record:
"Resolved: that Maj. John P. Gaines, Capt. Cassius M. Clay, Lieut. George Davidson, and their 30 companions in arms, who were taken prisoners by a force of 3000 Mexicans under command of Gen. Minion at Encarnacion deserve the thanks of the people of Kentucky for their bravery and their cool determination to maintain the reputation of Kentucky.
"When escape was impossible and destruction inevitable, that Maj. John P. Gaines has won the admiration of the people of Kentucky by honorably withdrawing his parole as a prisoner of war, when ordered by Gen. Lombardini to go to Tabico, by his escape through the lines of the enemy and his successful junction with the American army and his gallant bearing before the Walls of Mexico.
Honored While in Prison
"On June 8,1847, while Mr. Gaines was a prisoner of war in Mexico he was nominated for Congress by a Whig Convention at Covington, hand elected over Gen. Lucius B. Desha, a Democratic candidate.
"While in Washington as a Congressman he became acquainted with Millard Fillmore who became President at the death of President Taylor, July 9, 1850. One of the first appointments President Fillmore gave was to John P. Gaines as governor of the Oregon territory. When Mr. Gaines received this appointment he owned a large farm at Rich-wood on the Ridge roar! and hesitated quite a while as he was well located and financially well-to-do.
"President Fillmore finally got him to accept the appointment and he sold his farm and all his personal property, intending to make Oregon his future home and had all hit money ($75,000) in silver when he started.
"His family consisted of wife, son, and two daughters; all of whom he took with him and set out on a journey to New York City where he took the store ship Supply as he proceeded to his destination in 1850. Yellow fever became prevalent on the ship as they were near the Brazilian coast. The two daughters were attacked by this deadly pestilence and one of them died, when near the coast line of the island of Saint Catherines.
"This island, which is about 30 miles long and 10 miles wide, lies about four miles from the Brazilian coast and in 1850 had a population of 30,000. The capitol of the island is Dosterro and it had a population of 8,000. Very few of the people at that time could read or write, in fact their island was a wilderness of coffee and orange trees, shrubs and foliage that never felt the frost.
"During that period our consular agent was Robert S. Catheast, a native of Massachusetts, once the captain of a whaler. Misfortune in early life drove him into exile and here he had made his home without seeing any of his former friends. Here he married a Brazilian woman and reared a large family and became very wealthy.
"Mr. Gaines had the ship to anchor here and he got in contact with Mr. Catheast (our agent) and he made arrangements for her grave on the back of his estate. While this procedure was taking place the other daughter died, following her sister to her last home in a strange land.
In Deep Depression
"Mr. Gaines was deeply affected and seemed to sink into a state of deep depression, encountering such a blow before reaching the scene of his future labors and life. He did not mark the graves with a fence or a tombstone, expecting soon to have the remains removed to his new home in Oregon, but they still remain there.
"After the two daughters had been laid at rest, the ship Supply proceeded around Cape Horn to Oregon and no sooner did Mr. Gaines get located than his son took sick and died of that dreaded disease, consumption.
"A very short time thereafter his wife, while riding a horse, was thrown to the ground and killed and at last Gov. Gaines himself, crushed by blow after blow and bereft of all held dear, sank to the grave in what was almost as much a land of strangers to him as St. Catherines to his lovely daughters.
"About 1837 the U. S. Steamer Metacomet, on her way to Paraguay, called at the island of St. Catherines and the officers, hearing of the sad affair, ordered a wooden tablet to be erected to perpetuate the memory of this solitary spot, but did not erect any permanent monument or clear away the brush, or put up fence, probably from want of material or time. There was no stonecutter on the ship or on shore, or marble slabs to be had. The officers were content with what was humble.
"During 1859-1860 the officers of the Metacomet and the Powhattan, making another trip to Paraguay, anchored here and found the spot, cleaned the grass and shrubs away, and let the sunlight of ten years in upon these fair young sleepers.
"A nice slat fence was erected around the graves and painted and a thick, well carved plank, which would endure for many years was erected between the graves of the two sisters whose Christian names were not known. The following is the inscription that was placed upon this plank. "Sacred to the memory of two daughters of Governor Gaines of Oregon, who died of yellow fever on board the United States Store Ship Supply in 1850, while on their passage to Oregon. Ground cleared up and enclosed by officers of the United States steamers Metacomet and Powhattan in 1859 and 1860.
"One of the officers of the ship had this to say: 'A spot of greater natural beauty can hardly be conceived, one of such utter loneliness I never saw.
"'I walked around this cemetery and looked upon the graves again and again, calling up the history of these fair sleepers in this distant land, and the fate of the unhappy family till the luxury of sorrow became painful, and I gathered up some memorials of the sad spot and returned to the ship.'
"Mr. Gaines held the position of governor of this Oregon Territory until 1853 when he came into serious conflict with the Territorial Legislature, notably over the location of the capitol."
Boone County was formed from Campbell County in 1798. It has an average width of about 15 miles. The Ohio River flows along the county line for about 40 miles. At the time of formation there were about 1,400 persons living in Boone County.
While reading the beautiful poem written by Riley Scott, a Kentucky boy, entitled "The Toll Gate" we were reminded of our early toll gates.
"Life is but a Gate-way
On the road of Time,
Carved with many a legend
And with flowers of Rhyme.
"But an ancient Toil-Gate
With a keeper old,
Where each passing trav'ler
Pays his piece of gold."
Yes, we had such gates in Boone County from 1837 up to the early 1900's. During 1837 when the ridge road was completed from Coving-ton to Lexington, toll gates were erected at the most convenient places along the road, (generally where another road intersected or close by). What we mean by toll gate was a long pole that extended from the residence of the keeper of the toll gate to the opposite side of the road. Here is where you paid for the right to travel a toll road in those by gone days. What is now the Dixie Highway had two of these gates between Florence and Walton, one of these being at Devon, the other one was located south of Richwood on the old road. Both are now used as residences. The Florence and Burlington Pike had two gates.
In early times the toll was collected from what is now the Price Connor house, but later moved to the residence now occupied by Stanley Aylor. The other gate was located at the junction of the Hebron as Burlington Pike. This house has been removed, and a better approach to the Hebron and Limaburg road is the result. There were two toll gates between Burlington and Belleview and if you went to Petersburg from Burlington you would pass three. The Florence and Union Pike had two. The Price Pike one and the Mitchelville Dry Creek Pike had two. Before the bond issues were carried there were about twenty-five toll gates in our county. The fare for traveling these roads varied according to the vehicle, for a horse and buggy it was generally 2J cents a mile. As the auto appeared it was twenty cents a mile for a motor driven vehicle. The writer paid $2.40 for the privilege of driving his auto from Florence to Burlington and return. Roads would be less traveled today if we had toll gates.
We shall close this article by quoting the last stanza of "The Toll Gate."
"Does love guide your foot steps?
Are you led by hate?
Are you smiling, Comrade;
Passing through the gate?"
MORE ABOUT TOLL GATES
Tandy Ellis gave the writer a fine compliment in the Times-Star in reference to the article in the Walton Advertiser entitled "Early History of Boone County" about toll gates and the toll from Florence to Burlington being $2.40 a round trip. This was the price, 20c per mile for motor driven vehicles, as the owners of the road will verify.
The writer never failed to read the "Tang of the South." Mr. Ellis tells us of Uncle Pat Lowry keeping a toll gate near Ghent, and a stranger appearing one night asking for lodging. Mr. Lowry feeling sorry for him told him he could stay, expecting to receive his pay for his keep and toll the next morning, but when Mr. Lowry arose in the morning his guest had disappeared and failed to pay. Uncle Fat from that day locked the pole down and then somebody sawed the pole. About three months later Uncle Pat received a money order stating that his guest had no money at the time he stayed with him, but was now in the bootlegging business and had plenty money.
The writer refers to the above in order to illustrate the predicament of a man who had never seen a toll gate.
The writer was driving a stranger in Boone County from Lima-burg to Constance over the road that leads past where the airport is now being constructed. A toll gate used to be here and a Mr. Souther had charge of it. The house stood back perhaps 30 feet from the road. As we approached the stranger sitting beside me said, "Stop, I will get that stick out of the road." So for curiosity sake I stopped the horse and the stranger alighted and ran full flight ahead and I did not urge the horse forward and he tried and tried and could not get the pole up. He finally called to me and said it was fastened down and he could not get it loose, but thought perhaps I could get between it and the fence. So by the time I got there Mr. Souther had arrived and asked the man what he was trying to do and he said, "I have been trying to get this
pole out of the way so we can pass on the road." I hastened forward as quickly as possible and stopped the argument as Mr. Souther knew me quite well as having been an instructor to his children at the Point Pleasant School a couple of years previous to this episode. This was the first toll gate that this stranger had ever seen and I had so impressed it on his mind that if he ever would chance to see another stick across the road please let the driver of the vehicle see that it was removed the proper way, and not be so hasty and run 100 yards ahead and do something in a strange land and among strangers. I had occasion to see this same person about 30 years ago and he said, "Do you still have those sticks across the roads down there in Kentucky?"
Boone County went through the "Judge Lynch" period when aroused citizens took the law into their own hands and became judge, jury, and executioner.
Hangman's Tree is a walnut tree on the Burlington Pike a short distance east of its junction with Camp Ernst Road. The tree has been "dehorned" by utility companies and will not last many more years.
Two men are reported to have been hanged from its branches. Details of lynchings are vague. Participants are usually reluctant to talk about them.
Rumor has it that in 1886 a negro man was accused of attacking a woman in the area. He was arrested and placed in the Burlington Jail awaiting trial.
A mob was formed and when the jailor refused to surrender the prisoner the door was battered down.
The prisoner had just been served a dinner of "sow belly and beans." Hoping to escape he undressed and greased himself with the fat meat so that he would be difficult to hold.
In the confusion that followed he was struck on the head with a claw hammer, dragged to the walnut tree and hanged. It is believed that he may have been dead before the hanging.
One of the neighbors wrapped his body with a horse blanket until the authorities cut him down.
During the summer of 1898 I was taking pictures and gathering material for articles on county history. People who said they had witnessed the two hangings suggested a picture of the tree.
I determined to try to reproduce one of the events for a picture. A farmer in the neighborhood had a negro boy working for him who agreed to be "hanged." I promised to give him a box of shot gun shells and his employer agreed to give him a half-day off from work to go hunting. Neighbors joined in and helped me rig up a platform for the boy to stand on. A piece of Number 9 wire was wrapped with cloth and fastened about his body, under the arms, and then fastened to a limb of the tree. A rope noose was placed around his neck and over the limb in such manner as to conceal the wire.
After I had focused the camera, an 8 ½ x 10 ½ model, the board platform was removed and I took a picture. I then saw that the boy's tongue was protruding; the rope was shorter than the wire and the boy was actually being hanged. I cut him down and he suffered no ill effects from my faulty engineering. A man driving by with a wagon load of groceries urged me to "let him hang." I got a good picture and the boy went hunting. He did not want one of the pictures.
Sometime during 1919 some of my scrap-books and the pictures and the plates were lost. I have often wondered what became of the boy. If he is still around I would like to see him and will give him a copy of my "History of Boone County."
The following account of another hanging was not written by the author of the articles in this book. It was thought appropriate to include it.
There is a rope in the office of the Boone County Circuit Court Clerk that is reported to have been used for hanging Lafadette sometime about the turn of the century.
It seems that this man, Lafadette, had come across the ferry at Constance, Kentucky, and had gotten into a fight with someone there. Whether or not he made the attack upon the person or whether they had made it upon him is not known; however, a fight ensued and Lafadette prevailed. Very soon there was a warrant caused to issued and he was arrested, and not being able to post bail, he was placed in jail.
It seems that there was a great deal of talk of taking him from jail and giving him the punishment he deserved. The group that discussed it stated toward Burlington, going by way of Hebron and on down to
Bullittsville, to go across the Bullittsville Road and stopped at a farm, took a hay wagon out of the driveway of the barn and proceeded on to Burlington.
It is not known just how the mob got the man out of jail. A rope from the hay wagon was used and Lafadette was hanged from the limb of a tree on a farm on the Bullittsville Road a short distance from Burlington.
The body was left hanging and was found the next morning by a hired man on the farm. County authorities were notified and the man was let down.
[A. M. Yealey, History of Boone County, Kentucky]