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Sandi Gorin (View posts)
Posted: 939297600000
Classification: Query
Edited: 993310358000
Surnames: Nunn, Clinton, Stockton, Crittenden, Marion, Jackson, Ford, Shelby, Croghan, Morgan, Cheek, Daveiss, Lind, Anderson, Edmonson, Keefus, Hazelip

Presented by Governor Louie Nunn at the Kentucky State Fair some years ago.

Clinton County, our 85th county in 1836 was formed from parts of Wayne and Cumberland Counties. It was named in honor of the distinguished Governor DeWitt Clinton of New York. Albany, the county seat and principal town of Clinton County was named for the capital of New York. Although it was considered an important outpost during the War between the States, federal troops took possession of the town early in 1863 and remained for ten months. A part of the Cumberland Mountain chain called Poplar Mountain overlooks the county. It makes a curve around Stockton’s Valley, a fertile and productive land fed by rich deposits of limestone. The elevation of Poplar Mountain is from 1000 to 1500 feet. Atop the mountain, four miles from Albany, are three springs whose waters were long considered to have valuable medicinal properties. Five miles northeast of Albany is 76 Falls on Indian Creek, a serene and beautiful natural wonder, where Indian Creek leaps over a ledge into Lake Cumberland through 76 different breaks. Hikers can climb Sewell Mountain for a view of 75 miles across the Cumberland foothills, and to see the popular Rehobeth Spring of early pioneer days, another of the health-giving waters of the region. There’s no doubt about the invigorating qualities of two other bodies of water in Clinton County – the southern arm of Lake Cumberland and the northern reaches of Dale Hollow Reservior. They are the two most famous fishing spots in southern Kentucky, and around their shores can be found campsites, resort lodges, fishing camps, and just about any other form of vacation accommodation the visitor might require.

Crittenden County, formed from part of Livingston County and named for one of Kentucky’s greatest statesmen, John. J. Crittenden, became our 92nd county in 1842. It is surrounded almost entirely by rivers, it is bounded on the north by the Ohio, the Tradewater is on its eastern side, and the Cumberland River forms part of its western boundary. The Pennyrile Region it lies received its nickname from early settlers from a wildflower indigenous to the region, related to our common mint – the Pennyroyal. The county seat, Marion, was named for General Francis Marion of Revolutionary War fame. The community of Ford’s Ferry in Crittenden County is opposite the location of the infamous Cave-In-Rock. Across the Ohio River on the Illinois shore, early in the 19th century, the natural cave was the haunt of river pirates who robbed and murdered flatboat travelers. At Tolu, burial places of the prehistoric mound builders have been found. The graves yielded beads made of fluorspar, for which this area of western Kentucky is famous. An important mineral in steel making, fluorspar is found in crystals whose beautiful colors range to purple, saffron yellow, light pink, blue, green and violet. Crittenden County is also rich in rock asphalt, glass sand, limestone, and petroleum. Legend even says that, at one time, a company headed by Andrew Jackson mined silver here. John J. Crittenden was born in Kentucky in 1787. He was a lawyer by profession, but when we became involved in the War of 1812, he served as an aide to Governor Isaac Shelby, who led a company of Kentuckians in their gallant stand at the Battle of the Thames. Crittenden served for six terms in our State General Assembly. He was a distinguished U.S. Senator, the author of the Statesmanlike Crittenden Compromise. He was Governor of Kentucky, 1848-50, and resigned the Governship to become U.S. Attorney General. Governor Crittenden died in 1863.

In Cumberland County, the Cumberland River cuts through lands of history and beauty and offers the vacationer unforgettable recreation and scenic splendor. It became our 37th county in 1799, formed from a part of Green County. Cumberland County was named after the Cumberland River and has had five counties formed out of its original land. It borders on the Tennessee State line. The Cumberland County seat, Burkesville, was the site of one of the first American oil wells in 1829 – accidentally drilled by John Croghan when he was boring for salt. Oil taken from the well through a casing of hand-hewn pine logs was sold in medicine bottles labeled, “American Oil.” This well, later known as the Great American Well, eventually produced 50,000 barrels. Today, a monument recognizes the site of the well an Cumberland County still produces a quantity of oil. An unusual battle of the Civil War took place in the Cumberland River near Burkesville. General John Hunt Morgan’s Confederate raiders had just shed their uniforms, to cross the flooded Cumberland River when they were attacked and forced to fight off a Union force which, in full dress, must at least have felt better equipped for battle. North of Burkesville is the birthplace of the inventor of Maxwell House Coffee. In the 1880’s (so the story goes), a grocery drummer, Joel Cheek, was munching on coffee beans when he noticed a particularly fine blend. (This is their story, not mine). He sold the blend to the Nashville Hotel Maxwell House, and the fortune made from the coffee has benefit Cumberland Countians through the years. Along the Cumberland River, visitors will find a variety of swimming, fishing, and boating for family recreations, here in a county that shares its historic heeritage and its natural endowments with thousands of visitors annually.

Daviess County, on the banks of the Ohio River, became our 58th County in 1815, formed out of part of Ohio County. It was named in honor of the brilliant and brave Joseph Hamilton Daveiss, although it is not spelled as he spelled his name. Daveiss was the best speaker they ever had, “having very few equals and no superiors.” Along the banks of this Ohio River county is the county seat of Daviess, Owensboro, which was settled in 1800. Today it is the largest city in western Kentucky, with 85 industries including oil, steel, tobacco, and distilling. The largest bourbon producer in the state, Glenmore Distillery, is here. A museum on the distillery industry in this county contains local maps, prints, early advertisements, and a collection of miniature bottles from all over the world. One of Owensboro’s historic buildings was the Planters’ Hotel which used to be at Fourth and Main. This hotel sheltered such famous people as Jenny Lind, the “Swedish Nightingale,” and the famous actress, Mary Anderson. An interesting and also educational center is the Owensboro Science Museum. Kentucky colleges in this area have combined their knowledge in establishing this admission-free museum. It contains exhibits which range from marine life to meteorites, to a live reptile collection. There is also ample opportunity for recreation in Daviess County, provided in part by Carpenter Lake eight miles northeast of Owensboro, and Indian Lake, east of Hawesville.

Edmonson County is one of the most visited sections of the state, partly because it contains the major portion of the world-famous Mammoth Cave National Park. Mammoth Cave lies in a 51,000 acre park containing picturesque hills and valleys and tree-lined stretches of the Green River. The cave features a vast network of winding channels, colorful stalactites and stalagmites. The underground Echo River and Crystal Lake, and colorless forms of animal life that have adapted to the strange conditions of living always underground. The cave is, undoubtedly, one of the world’s major tourist attractions. Edmonson County became our 79th county in 1825. It was formed out of sections of Warren, Hart, and Grayson Counties and was named in honor of Captain John Edmonson, Kentucky frontiersman and soldier. On the left bank of the Green River is Brownsville, the Edmonson County seat. Brownsville’s gracious homes stand beneath stout old trees. The brick courthouse in Brownsville, one of Kentucky’s oldest, was built in 1875 from local clay out of the banks of Green River. In the Luttrell Cemetery, a half-mile north of Brownsville, is a unique monument to John Keefus, a member of the Home Guards during the Civil War, who was killed by his officer brother-in-law for refusing to obey orders. Hazelip, the officer, had the monument erected with the inscription, “I regret having to kill you, and I erect this monument in your memory.” Indian Hill is a mile outside Brownsville. It is circular at its base and one mile in circumference and has an altitude of 84 feet. The remains of a fortification can be seen around the brow, and several mounds and burial places are scattered over the hill.

To be continued.

(c) Copyright 7 October 1999, Sandra K. Gorin, All Rights Reserved,

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