Tag Archives: Bardstown Kentucky

Ben Hardin – Famous Lawyer of Bardstown

The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Tuesday Morning, December 18, 1900


Former Residence of Old Ben Hardin

In Suburbs of Bardstown

The Place Where The Famous Lawyer Lived and Died

[Bardstown Record]

One of Kentucky’s historic residences is ‘Edgewood,’ the former home of Ben Hardin, in his day one of Kentucky’s greatest lawyers.  This old homestead is situated in the suburbs of Bardstown, and is a large and irregular structure built entirely of brick.  It was originally a one-storied building, with two rooms in front.  To this an addition was made on the left, comprising a wide hall and front room and chambers in rear with similar apartments above.  These added rooms and the hall are unusually large and airy.  The hall is entered by a large door in front, and contains a massive old-fashioned staircase, connecting with the upper story.  The present occupant, Hon. Lud. McKay, has added a handsome veranda to the house, which greatly improves its general appearance.

This dwelling was erected between 1819-1822 by Mr. Hardin on land that was contained in the original pre-emption of Bardstown.  The tract contains about two hundred and fifty acres of as fine soil as there is in Nelson County.  A wide lawn in front of the residence stretches down to one of the streets of the town, and is liberally shaded with a fine growth of forest trees.

Ben Hardin, who erected and long occupied the residence, was born in Pennsylvania, February 29, 1784, and at the age of four years was brought to Kentucky by his parents, who settled in Nelson County.  At an early age he was placed in the school of Dr. Priestly, then the most able educator in the West.  At the age of twenty, young Hardin began the study of law, which he soon mastered and was admitted to the bar of Bardstown.  His first case was one in which a large tract of land was involved.  He was alone on his side and opposed by several of the most distinguished lawyers of the day.  However, he won his case and his fame was made, and from that time on he never lacked for clients.  Readers of the Standard are familiar with the history of Mr. Hardin; his public services; his numerous debates in Congress with Henry Clay; how he was dubbed the ‘Kitchen Knife’ by John Randolph, and the ‘Red Fox’ by some other equally as great man.  Suffice it to say that he was one of the shrewdest and most successful attorneys that ever practiced his profession within the domains of this old Commonwealth.

In early life Mr. Hardin was married to Elizabeth Barbour, daughter of Col. Ambrose Barbour, of Washington County, one of Kentucky’s most distinguished pioneers.  She is described as a handsome woman, with many admirable traits of character.  Seven children were the result of this union – three sons and four daughters.

The latter were Lucinda, who married John Helm, afterward Governor of Kentucky; Emily, who married Dr. Palmer, a prominent physician of Washington County; Kate, who married Thomas Riley, a prominent attorney of Bardstown, and Sallie, who married Thomas W. Dixon, a Kentuckian living in the West.  Of the sons, William died of a fever in childhood; James and Rowan married in early life – the former a Miss Chinn; the latter a Miss Cartmell.  James died a short time after his marriage.  Rowan became an able lawyer; served in the State Legislature, and in 1851 was appointed by President Fillmore Secretary of Legation to Guatemala.  During the year it is supposed he was assassinated in the mountains of the Isthmus of Darien, as a skeleton was discovered and identified as his by some papers that were found in the vicinity.

Old Ben Hardin’s home life was always a happy one.  His doors were always open, and he dispensed the most lavish hospitality to all who came beneath his roof.  Many distinguished men were entertained by him at his residence, among whom may be mentioned Gen. William Preston, ex-Senator Garland, Bishop Kavanaugh, Judge John Rowan, gov. William Duvall, and many others who afterward became men of national reputation.  Mr. Hardin’s death occurred in September 1852, and was the result of a fall from a horse which he received as he was journeying from Bardstown to Lebanon to attend court.  He was buried in an old grave yard in a field near the pike leading from Springfield to Lebanon, by the side of his mother.  His grave is marked by an unpretentious stone bearing the simple inscription: ‘Ben Hardin, of Bardstown.’  Mrs. Hardin had preceded her husband to the grave in August, her death being hastened by constant attendance upon Mr. Hardin.  She is buried in the old pioneer cemetery here, in the midst of children and relatives.  A marble shaft, that has been sadly disfigured by vandals, marks her last resting place.  The only inscription is bears is ‘Elizabeth Barbour Hardin, wife of Ben Hardin.’

Ritchey and I have visited the Pioneer Cemetery in Bardstown, but we did not see a stone for Elizabeth Barbour Hardin.

Carother’s Infants Buried In Old Presbyterian Cemetery In Nelson County

Emmelene, daughter of J & R Carothers, born August 18, 1841, died October 30, 1845.  Old Presbyterian Cemetery, Bardstown, Nelson County, Kentucky.

Sunday Ritchey and I were out early for a day in the cemeteries of Nelson County.  We went to early Mass, had a glorious pancake breakfast at Cracker Barrel, and were in St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery in Bardstown by 11:00.  We also visited Pioneer Cemetery and the old Presbyterian Cemetery – also in Bardstown.

Our last stop was the Presbyterian Cemetery, just a small lot with the remains of about fifty people.  Today I want to share a beautiful stone dedicated to two infants – Emmelene and Joseph Lewis Carothers.  Since many of the stones in the cemetery are very faded and unreadable, this one stands out both in clarity and color.

Joseph Lewis, son of J & R Carothers, born March 25, 1845, died June 26, 1845.

As there are no other Carothers in this cemetery, at least of the readable stones, research gave us more information about this family.  A DAR lineage for a woman in Bardstown listed James Carothers (1738-1826), who served as a private in the 2nd battalion of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, in the the militia in 1781.  He was born in Scotland and died in Huntington County, Pennsylvania.  His son James Carothers married Nancy Neely.  Their son, Samuel Carothers, married Ann Simmerman.  Their son, James Carothers, married Rebecca Massie.  Their son, William Burke Carothers, married Sue Yager.

In the 1850 Census of Nelson County, James Carothers, 51, is listed as a bridge builder, born in Pennsylvania.  Wife Rebecca, 36, was also born in Pennsylvania, as well as the oldest daughter, Hannah, 16.  Three other children were born in Kentucky, A. R., 11; William B., 7; and Josephine B., 4.  Of course there is no listing for the two infants who died in 1843 and 1845.

This is the last census record for James Carothers, since he died in 1851.

The will of James Carothers is in Will Book 6, Page 553, of the Nelson County Clerk’s Office. 

In the name of God, Amen.  I, James Carothers, being persuaded in my own mind that it would redound to the interest of my wife and children to make a disposition of my property, do make, publish and declare the following as my last will and testament, hereby revoking all others made by me.

It is my will that all my just debts be paid and after they are paid off I desire my wife to have the use of all my estate so long as she remains my widow, with power to sell and convey any of my property to pay debts or to reinvest in other property or to use for her support and that of her family of children.  Should she marry than I desire that my property to be disposed according to law of the state.  I desire my boys to be put to trades so soon as they arrive at proper age.

I constitute and appoint  my wife sole executrix to carry out this will.  Witness my hand this 19 day of May 1851.

                                                          James Carothers

Attest.  P. B. Muir, J. Wood Wilson

A writing purporting to be the last will and testament of James Carothers, deceased, was produced in Court and duly proven by the oaths of Peter B. Muir and J. Wood Wilson, subscribing witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded.

                Att. J. Danosin Elliott, Clerk, N.C.C.

In the 1860 Census of Nelson County, Rebecca Carothers, 45, born in Pennsylvania, with children William B., 17, and Josephine, 14.  In the 1870 census Rebecca, 59, is living alone; she lived until 1890.

The death of two infants within two years was a terrible tragedy – unfortunately one endured by many parents during the 1800’s.  The love for these children is evident in the beautiful stone erected in their honor – and the beautiful verse written on it.

So fades the lovely blooming flower, Frail smiling solace of an hour.  So soon our transient comforts fly, And pleasure only blooms to die.

Sweet flower, transplanted to a clime, Where never come the blight of time.  Sweet voice which hath joined the hymn of the undying seraphim.

Young wanderer who hath reached thy rest, With everlasting glory blest.  Thy little bark in life’s dark sea, Has anchored in eternity.

Oh who would not thy brief career, With lamentation’s selfish tear.  Or who would stay thy upward flight, To the bright realms of perfect light.

Come gentle patience smile on pain, Till dying Hope shall live again.  Hope wipes the tear from sorrows eye, And faith points upward to the sky.

Who Reads the Western American Newspaper In 1805?

np1Who reads The Western American Newspaper in 1805?  What today sounds like someone from California, or at least Arizona, in 1805 we are talking about Bardstown, Kentucky – Nelson County!  How times change, and talk of western lands in one century is definitely not the same in another! Personal information was found in ads that were run in the paper.  Most of the other written words were about the laws of Kentucky, items concerning the court, and in one, the second Inaugural Address of Thomas Jefferson!  In 1805 it wasn’t quite as easy to visit Washington for the inauguration, or watch it on television!

I found this newspaper while searching for something else, but couldn’t believe my luck!  Several extended family members are mentioned!

np4-1On page four of the January 11, 1805, paper is an advertisement to be inoculated for the ‘Cow Pox’ by Dr. Burr Harrison.  He has ‘just received the genuine infection from Philadelphia.’  Notice the insertion of ‘f’ for ‘s’ – makes it a bit difficult to read.  Burr Harrison was a descendant of the family of Susannah Harrison who married Moses Linton.  I descend from his second marriage with Susannah Hancock.

np4-2On the same page is a list of letters remaining in the Bardstown Post Office.  If they are not collected by April 1st they will go to the dead letter file.  Benjamin Mason, Joseph Lewis, Mrs. Anne Lewis, are all in my lines.  I can’t imagine why they didn’t pick up their mail.  Getting a letter was a rare treat in those days.  News from loved ones was a treasure to read and re-read many times.

np3-3On page three is a notice of leave by George Berry and Willis Hairgrove, to lay out a town on their land in Logan County, on big Muddy Creek, a branch of Green River.  I found Muddy Creek on the map.  It is rather long, but the only town on it today is where it starts on the Green River, a little town called Mining City, now in Butler County.  I can’t say if this is the town, or if Mr. Berry and Mr. Hairgrove were able to sell lots in their town, or if the project fell through.  Some of my Linton family went to Logan County.

np3-2David McClellan was in need of lots of butter in 1805.  Was he starting a bakery?  ‘I will contract for any quantity (not exceeding 2000 weight) of good Butter to be delivered in this place, any time between this and the first of April next, for which I will give a generous price in Cash or Merchandize – Any person on whose punctuality I can rely, that will contract for 100 weight or upwards, may receive their pay at any time, by giving their obligations to deliver the Butter in the time above specified.’

np3-1 Benjamin Mason, nephew of my fifth great-grandmother, Ann Mason, who married Captain John Linton, is requesting to hire a Negro woman for one year.  He lives 3 1/2 miles from Bardstown.

np2-2On page one was this advertisement wanting furs.  William King, located at Mr. J. McMeekin’s Store, is going to open a furriers business in Bardstown, and offers the highest prices in merchandise for skins that will be used in his business – bear, black and red foxes, martins, minks, fishers (?), wolverines, raccoons, wild cats, black and spotted tame cats, rabbits, etc.

np2-1Several ads like this were on the first page.  Plum Run is located near Fairfield in northern Nelson County close to the Spencer County border.  Nicholas Minor, who was a Justice of Peace for Nelson County, was married into the Linton/Mason families.  It is so interesting to find these little tidbits to make the lives of our ancestors come alive.  Each time we find a little piece of information that person becomes more of a real person, that lived, worked and loved just as we do today.


A Visit To St. Thomas Catholic Cemetery

IMG_0039A Visit To St. Thomas Catholic Cemetery, Nelson County, Kentucky

St. Thomas Catholic Church and Cemetery is located in rural Nelson County, Kentucky, just off US31E south of Bardstown, on Highway 2227.  This road ends at the church.  It is a very beautiful place, very quiet and peaceful.  Fields are farmed around St. Thomas, indicative of the life lived by the early settlers.  The Howard family was one of the first to arrive – coming to the area in 1787.  In 1810 Thomas Howard willed his farm to the church.  The cemetery is beautiful and taken care of very well.  The few stones that have broken are placed on a concrete slab where the original stone sat.  These photos were taken October 11, 2013.

IMG_0044Sacred to the memory of Joshua Greenwell, born August 17, 1819, died September 9, 1879

IMG_0047Charles L. Smith, born 1861, died July 21, 1889 – God took thee in His mercy, and thou art sanctified

IMG_0049Nancy Mudd, born February 3, 1837, died June 6, 1884

IMG_0051Mary A. Tewell, born September 14, 1838, died July 18, 1866

IMG_0052Joseph Boon, born October 15, 1802, died April 1, 1865

IMG_0055Martin Tewell, born April 27, 1827, died January 6, 1892

IMG_0001Jemima A., wife of H. Holtshouser, born October 19, 1837, died February 7, 1880


Edward M. Russell Obituary


from The News-Leader, Springfield, Washington County, Kentucky

Thursday, October 26, 1911

It came as quite a shock to many friends here when on Friday morning it became known that Mr. Ed M. Russell was at the point of death.  While Mr. Russell’s health had not been good for some time, having been a sufferer from heart trouble, yet he had been attending to his business as usual and on Thursday was at his store.

It was in the early hours of Friday morning when the fatal attack came, which caused his death Saturday morning.

Mr. Russell was born in Bardstown, Kentucky, January 16th, 1849.  His parents were natives of Dublin, Ireland, and emigrated to this country in 1838.  His father, William Russell, was an expert watchmaker, and indeed jewels has been the occupation not only of Ed M. Russell but of all his paternal ancestors, as far back as his great-great-great-grandfather.

He was educated at St. Joseph’s College at Bardstown, Kentucky, and when 16 years of age he entered his father’s jewelry store where he remained until 1869 when he went to California where he resided for ten years when he opened a jewelry store in Springfield and remained until his death.  He had traveled extensively in South America and was well posted in history and scientific studies.

During his long residence here he enjoyed the esteem and respect of all.  For several years he was Marshall of the city of Springfield, and as an officer he was distinguished for his fearlessness in the discharge of his duty and for his coolness in trying circumstances.

He was also, for several terms, City Councilman and served with credit in this office.

As a merchant he won the friendship and confidence of all by his courtesy and square dealing.

He married Miss Louisa Byrd, of London, England, a daughter of Col. Robert Byrd.  He is survived by his wife and eight children:  Mrs. R. D. Marks, Mrs. R. E. Foster and Miss Margaret Russell.  The boys are Messrs. William, Robert, Arthur, Charles and Ed Russell.

Edward M. Russell, January 16, 1848 – October 21, 1911

Louisa B. Russell, September 30, 1859 – July 3, 1938

Andrew Briggs Biography

from Kentucky Genealogy and Biography, Volume V

Andrew Briggs was born September 20, 1853.  His father, Thomas H. Briggs, was born in Nelson County, September 10, 1823.  His wife was Miss Elizabeth McMakin.  Their family consisted of four sons:  Peyton, Andrew, John and Alexander; and one daughter, Katie.  He has, since attaining manhood, followed farming with uniform success and has held the office of magistrate of the county for over forty years.  His father, Andrew Briggs, was a native of Edinburgh, Scotland.  He came to the United States a short time after the Revolutionary War, and settle in Nelson County, of which county he became one of its most successful and extensive farmers.  He was a true and consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and died at the age of sixty-four in the year 1857.  He was twice married, first to Miss Nancy Robinson, by whom he was the father of nine children; his next marriage was to Miss Mary Ferguson; to their union five children were born.  Two of his sons were members of the Confederate Army.  Peyton McMakin, maternal grandfather of our subject, was a native Kentuckian, born in Oldham County in the year 1800; he also became a very extensive farmer of Nelson County, and owned a large number of slaves.  He married a Miss Katie Bane and they reared a family of nine children; three of his sons fought on the Confederate side in the late war.  In politics he was a stanch Democrat; was a member of the Methodist Church.  He died in 1864.  Andrew Briggs, a native of Nelson County, has all his life followed the pursuits of the farm.  His early education was good, partially obtained at Lynnland College in Hardin County.  His wife, who he married September 19, 1878, was Miss Elizabeth Muir; they have only one child, a son named Elmo.  Mr. Briggs devotes his entire attention to his vocation of farming and takes a great interest in anything which will be to the advantage of his co-workers in that field; he is an active member of the Nelson County Agricultural Association, in which he holds the position of director, and is the proprietor of a fine, well improved farm of 166 acres, situated on the Bardstown and Bloomfield Pike, about two and one-half miles from the latter place.  He and wife are members of the Presbyterian Church.  His political views are Democratic.

Dr. Isaac Newman Greathouse Biography

from Hancock County, Kentucky Biographies

Dr. Isaac N. Greathouse was born near Bardstown, Kentucky, about 1792.  His father, Harmon Greathouse, was born in Pennsylvania.  In an early day, he and his two brothers started for Kentucky in a flatboat, and one of his brothers was killed by Indians while making the journey.  The second brother settled in Shelby County, and the third brother, Harmon, settled in Nelson County.  In an early Indian war he was captured by the Indians.  He remained a prisoner some time, but finally escaping settled in Nelson County, Kentucky, where he resided until his death.  Subject was reared in Nelson County and was there educated.  He read medicine with Dr. Goodman of that place.  In 1818 he went to Troy, Indiana, where he practiced his profession.  In the latter part of the same year he returned to Kentucky and married Miss Elizabeth Lewis.  This lady was born in Jefferson County, Kentucky, in 1799.  Her parents were John and Hannah Lewis; the father came to Hancock County with his family in 1799, and settled in a fort which then stood on the banks of the Yellow Creek.  He was a surveyor by occupation and in an early day made a plat of the major part of the land lying between the Salt and Green Rivers.  In 1812, he had listed for taxation over 199,760 acres.  This land was, however, considered very cheap; as, speaking about it in a letter written to people in Virginia in 1788, he said that a tract of 2,000 acres on the Ohio River, in what is now Hancock County, could be bought for fifteen farthings, but he remarked that the land in a few months could be bought for ten farthings.  Soon after his marriage Isaac Greathouse settled in this county, on the farm owned by his son William.  Here he followed his profession and also paid some attention to farming until his death in 1832.  His wife was born in 1799 and died in Hancock County in 1879.  To her were born seven children, of whom three are now living:  H. B., J. L. and William L.  Harmon B. Greathouse was born May 2, 1822, in Troy, Indiana, and was the second of a family of seven children.  His schooling was received in Hancock County.  He began life for himself when twenty-three years of age.  He first bought a farm near Lewisport, where he resided about two years.  From there he moved two miles below Lewisport, and here farmed for seven years.  In 1859 he came to his present farm in Hancock County, where he owns about 173 acres, with about 150 acres in cultivation.  Mr. Greathouse was married on February 10, 1840, to Miss Martha R., daughter of James and Catherine (Lewis) Haywood, natives of Henry County.  This lady was born in Daviess County, in November 1827, and was the mother of six children, of whom three are now living:  Catherine E., wife of Milton C. Tracy, in Macon, Missouri; Martha H., wife of Thomas L. Henderson, and Isaac N.  This lady died September 29, 1862.  Mr. Greathouse was next married, December 1, 1868, to Miss Martha E. Haywood, a daughter of George Haywood.  This lady was born in Clark County, Missouri (first white female born in that county), in 1830, and to her was born one child, since deceased.  She died September, 1878.  Subject is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, and has been identified with the Grange fraternity.  J. L. Greathouse was born in Hancock County, Kentucky, March 17, 1828, and was the third of seven children.  His education was received in Hancock County.  He began life for himself at twenty-five years of age, in Lewisport Precinct.  He settled on his present farm in 1864, where he owns 120 acres.  In 1864 he erected a saw-mill on his farm, and is still running it.  Mr. Greathouse was married, January 1, 1855, to Miss S. C. Smith, a daughter of Michael and Sarah (Scott) Smith, natives of Virginia.  This lady was born in Henry County, Kentucky, in 1836.  This marriage has resulted in the following children:  Nicholas J., Sarah, wife of Stephen Emich; Susan, wife of Rufus Neel; Almenda O., wife of William Roberts; Laura Cooper, Vinson, Clark and Fannie Lou.  Mr. Greathouse is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church south; Mrs. Greathouse of the old school Presbyterian Church.