Family Stories

Washington County Pioneers – John Waller

from Pioneer History of Washington County, Kentucky

Washington County Pioneers

John Waller, Pioneer Miller

John Waller, son of a Welshman of the same name who settled in Virginia in the early part of the 18th century, was born in 1739.  He was married in 1771 to Mary Small, born in 1755.

With his wife and several infant children, John Waller emigrated to Kentucky and settled on Cartwright’s Creek, in what was then Jefferson County, about the year 1780.  When Washington County was formed in 1792, the Waller home fell within the confines of the new county.

There were some 600 acres in John Waller’s tract on Cartwright’s Creek, adjoining the lands of Matthew Walton, Philemon Waters, Adam Shepherd, George Grundy and Jacob Meyers.  In January, 1787, he was granted permission to build a mill on his land on Cartwright’s Creek.  An Order to this effect is found in Order Book A of the Nelson County Court.  This mill served the community for many years.  The ruins of the mill are yet discernible at the northern boundary of the Saint Rose Cemetery, about two miles southwest of Springfield.

At one time, while returning from a trip to the Falls of the Ohio, (Louisville), in company with some of his neighbors, John Waller was wounded, and with one other was captured, when the company was surprised by a band of Indians.  His horse escaped and ran the distance home, carrying safely the load on its back.  Waller was kept a prisoner two years, and thought dead by his family and friends, before he was able to effect his escape.  The story is told of how an earlier opportunity for escape presented itself, but he refused to avail himself of it without his companion in captivity sharing it with him.  That companion was sleeping and could not be aroused without attracting attention, so Waller elected to remain rather than desert his friend.

The Waller family continued to reside on Cartwright’s Creek for a number of years, until the names of five sons and five daughters had been recorded in the family register.  In 1806, John Waller sold his farm to the Rev. Edward Fenwick, a Dominican priest, who purposed to establish a school of that order in Kentucky.

After selling his farm in Washington County, John Waller gathered up his family and goods and moved to Henderson County, settling in that part that later became Union County.  There he lived to see all of his children married and died in 1822, aged 83 years.  His wife died in 1823, aged 68 years.  The descendants of their son, Aaron Waller, who died in 1851, are yet found in Union County.

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