Family Stories

The History of Marion County, Kentucky

This history of Marion County, Kentucky, I know very well.  In the summer between my senior year of high school and first semester at college I worked at our local public library – in Marion County.  Having spent many, many hours there in the previous several years, going through census records – micro fiche – no books at that time! – and pouring over the county histories and family histories for records of my family – I was very familiar with the library, and excited when I was hired!  One of my tasks, other than shelving books, checking out customers, etc., was to type an extra copy of this history by W. T. Knott!  There are perhaps 100 pages.  We did not have copy machines (1975) so if you wanted an extra copy it was typed!  I was fascinated with the book – so loved every moment of my typing assignment!

In previous posts the history of the author, W. T. Knott, was the subject at hand.  This post is about the early settlers of Marion County.  Perhaps you will find your ancestor mentioned – if you are lucky enough to have family from this area!

Marion County was formed from Washington County in 1834.  Something to keep in mind while reading this section, since it is really Washington County, but the section that became Marion County.

from The History of Marion County by W. T. Knott

(a continuation from the September 4, 2013, post)

The Mussons, from whom Musson’s Creek had its name, settled in the Muldrow neighborhood and also the Handleys.  In the south-eastern part, the Simpsons, Wilsons, McMurrys, Yowells, Rawlings, Grundys, Sallys and others located early, but I have not data to fix accurate dates.  The northwestern part of what is now Marion County and the southwestern part of Washington County, was very early settled by the Hardins and Ewings and the Wickliffes.  The Hardins settled on Hardin’s Creek, the creek named after Martin Hardin, the father of the renowned Ben Hardin.

In the year 1784 or 1785, John Purdy settled with his family near the present site of Lebanon, just under the hill in the rear of the residence of Robert Edmonds and on the ground now owned by him.  The eldest sons of this old pioneer, John, Henry and William, settled on farms adjacent to their father’s and owned the land on which Lebanon now stands, and as far down the Campbellsville Pike as the land now owned by John Grove.  William Purdy gave the ground on which the First Presbyterian Church is now located, as also the ground for the school house.

in 1790, James Kirk, wife and two children, Edward and Dickson, arrived at Louisville, emigrating from Virginia.  With him came his sister Nancy and his brother Daniel, and finally settled north of where Lebanon now stands, about two miles, where he lived to raise a large family, and died at the advanced age of ninety-six years.  The old homestead is now, I think, in the possession of one of his descendants.  Along with a later emigration of the Ray family, in the year 1796, came the Bicketts, the Beards and Perrys.  Along with this colony came also Thomas P. Knott, the grandfather of Governor J. Proctor Knott.  By this time the territory, now Marion, was pretty well settled around the present village of Raywick, counting the last colony, which all settled near there.  The first school in that part of the county was taught by Thomas P. Knott, in a log house, near a small creek called Cherry Run, two miles east of Raywick.  In that school house, under Knott’s teaching, could have been found in earlier days, the Ewings, Wickliffes, Hardins, and amongst others, then a rough, uncouth, unwashed lad, with one suspender and barefooted, whom we have known in years later as the great lawyer of Kentucky, the Honorable Ben Hardin.

Anterior to the year 1800, there had settled in this territory many other brave pioneers, the date of their arrival unknown to me.  The Shucks settled here perhaps in 1799; finally located on the old National Road, now Campbellsville Pike, just below John Grove’s farm, on the opposite side of the road.  The Thompsons were also here.  The grandfather of the Honorable J. P. Thompson lived above Raywick two or three miles, on the Rolling Fork.  The Fogles were also pioneers.  Chris Fogle, the great-grandfather of the Honorable J. D. Fogle, lived at a very early day on Hardin’s Creek or the headwaters of Pottinger’s Creek.  The Thorps and Youngs and Harrisons and Hughes and Clelands and Carters and Beauchamps and others (all long since passed away) each did their part in building up the future of their adopted lands.  The Mattinglys, Phillips, Smiths, Jarboes, Elders, Cleavers, Mills and Cissells were all here at an early day, and their posterity are now amongst our most honored citizens.

5 replies »

  1. I’m descended from Nicholas Ray .. and from my understanding, Raywick, was named for his family. I enjoy reading and researching about this area of Kentucky.

  2. I am a descendent of John Purdy, Daniel Purdy, and Mollie(Mary) Purdy who married Charles William Wilcher and the land was given to them by the Purdy family when they married and is in the Wilcher name. The rest has been sold off piece by piece. The only land left is on 49 in Bradfordsville, Ky. Unless some distant relatives have some. Charles and Molly had Charles Shirley Wilcher and he married Mattie Stamp who had my grandmother and mother Margie Wilcher, who had my mom Connie Wilcher who married Andrew Barber and then myself Gina Barber.

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