Tag Archives: Ben C. Allin

Russell – Lyons Marriage License and Certificate – Mercer County

Marriage License

The Commonwealth of Kentucky

To any Minister of the Gospel, or other Person legally authorized to solemnize Matrimony

You are permitted to solemnize the rites of Matrimony between Isaac Russell and Zurah Lyons the requirements of the law having been complied with.

Witness my signature as Clerk of Mercer County Court, this 5th day of October 1866.

                         Ben C. Allin, Clerk by C. W. Allin, D.C.

Marriage Certificate

This is to Certify that on the 7th day of October 1866, the Rites of Matrimony were legally solemnized by me, between Isaac Russell and Zurah Lyons at Zachariah Lyons in the County of Mercer, Kentucky, in the presence of Letcher McCowan, George Burrus and Peter Davis.

Signed, Robert A. Nelson



Graham Springs – Famous Waters Bring Many To Mercer County

Who knew Harrodsburg had the reputation of one of the best mineral springs anywhere around?  Graham Springs and its hotel saw many of important and famous people visit both before the Civil War and after the turn of the 20th century.  It is said its guest registers hold the names of everyone who visited; and one was used in a murder trial in the 1850’s to locate the whereabouts of certain witnesses at the time of the murder.  You guessed it – they were at the Graham Springs Hotel.

Begun in 1820, a large hotel was built in 1843.  In 1853 the property was sold to the US government, and burned in 1865.  In 1911 the idea of the Graham Springs Hotel was reborn with another building, and continued through 1932 when the property was purchased by Glave Goddard.  In 1946 it was decided to build the James B. Haggin Hospital on the site of the Grahm Springs Hotel.

The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Sunday, November 17, 1929

Autumn At Graham Springs

To the Editor of The Courier-Journal

Graham Springs Hotel stands upon a beautiful wooded hilltop overlooking the historic town of Harrodsburg, itself one of the oldest and most famous resort hotels in the South.

Twenty-five acres of almost virgin forestry surround it, in unusual beauty of location, its site superb, and its outlook majestic.  As the changing seasons come and go in Kentucky, they write a progressive record of the sylvan beauty upon these woods that thrill an observer with the sheer loveliness of it.  The bluegrass has a marvelous power of resurrection which no amount of scorching in summer drouths can destroy, and late rains of the fall season have laid an aftermath of tender green upon the sunlit slopes in Graham Springs woods.  Upon walnut trees of unusual size and symmetry dark clumps of mistletoe hang in profusion, their waxen berries turning to pearl in a setting of shimmering dark green leaves.  It is no wonder that the Druids worshipped the mistletoe, with its suggestion of everlasting life!  From oak and elm and walnut trees, brilliant autumn colors are flaunted in the face of on-coming winter, with a brave abandon.  As one by one, scarlet, gold and russet-brown leaves float softly to earth, in the still sunlight, a sense of peace and restfulness falls like soothing balm upon the spirit of anyone who may walk there.

In 1820, Dr. C. C. Graham erected a classic building resembling an old world castle upon these grounds, close to the famous Graham0 Springs, whose marvelous curative waters still attract people in search of health and pleasure.  It does not need a page from the United States Dispensary, which states that, ‘Graham Springs and Saratoga are the only saline waters of true worth to be found in America,’ to convince one who has tasted it.  Many have declared it equal to the waters at Baden-Baden.  Kentucky has an asset in this mineral water which she cannot afford to overlook, and progress will surely present it to the world in the fullest measure.  In 1865, that year of the War Between the States anguish, the old hotel was burned.  Its romantic memories, its charm and prestige, however, which are things of spiritual permanence, still cling about the place.

It was in Harrodsburg that George Rogers Clark planned his famous army for the conquest of the Northwest, in commemoration of which event, Old Fort Harrod has been made a State park.  It was within the hotel grounds that a beautiful pageant, representing the early history of Kentucky, was given in celebration of the centennial anniversary of the founding of Harrodsburg, several years ago.  A priceless old record book of Graham Springs Hotel shows names of men famous in the making of America.  Henry Clay was a frequent guest and left his name upon its register.  Pages might be printed of other famous signatures found there.

Old Dr. Graham himself, with his snow-white beard and princely bearing, was a conspicuous figure in the annals of Kentucky, not only leaving a record of his fame at Graham Springs, but at old Transylvania University at Lexington, where he received his education.  Dr. Ephraim McDowell at Danville, and Dr. C. C. Graham at Harrodsburg were men who measured up to the highest standards in the world’s medical records.  The wise old doctor saw to it that his guests had a full measure of exercise and pleasure as well as curative waters to tone up the human system.  A series of dances were inaugurated at Graham Springs before the War Between the States, which became famous for their brilliancy and aristocratic patronage.  The musicians were colored slaves of Dr. Graham, highly trained and gaily liveried.  The singing of ‘spirituals’ before an audience began, in the old South, upon these occasions.

The grave of the unknown girl who died of a heart attack at one of the balls given at Graham Springs.  Her grave is well-tended today.

To this day the weekly dances at Graham Springs are social events of importance in Kentucky, during the season.  Perhaps a mention of the ante-bellum balls may not be complete without reference to the beautiful ‘Unknown’ who danced so gaily and so long at one of them, that she died of a heart attack on the same summer night.  Her grave, marked first by Dr. Graham, and afterward by the City of Harrodsburg, is shown to tourists who never fail to respond to the pathetic appeal of her story.

Mrs. James Harrod, widow of the hardy old pioneer who founded Harrodsburg, lived to a very old age, and was an honored guest at Graham Springs on the first anniversary celebration held there.

Nancy Lewis Greene, Harrodsburg, Kentucky

The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Thursday, January 1, 1942

Where Southern Gentry Met to Freshen, Fatten and Flirt

This article of 1942 talks about the many ‘watering places’ or mineral springs located in Kentucky, and used before the advent of the Civil War.  It is said physicians strongly recommended taking the waters and were advertised as being ‘especially beneficial to persons suffering from diseases of the stomach, live and kidneys, as well as from asthma, gout, dyspepsia, rheumatism, bilious disorders, neuralgia, autumnal fevers and general debility.’  I believe that takes in almost anyone!

In 1803 John Kennedy’s stagecoach lines helped bring patrons from the city to the country where they might take the waters.

At Olympian Springs, in Bath County it was said ‘there was much flirting, sometimes by ‘married charmers, thirsting for universal dominion.’  Disputes between the ladies often involved ‘pillows, bolsters, fingernails and the poignant sarcasm of the tongue,’ and, at time, the dueling pistols of sensitive gentlemen could be heard in a nearby woodland settling ‘affairs of honor.’

‘Dr. Christopher Columbus Graham, veteran of the War of 1812 and “for many years the champion off-hand rifle shot of the world,” purchased the Greenville Springs in 1827, and the following year bought the “Harrodsburg or Sutton Springs” from his father-in-law, Captain David Sutton, for $10,000.  Dr. Graham then combined these two watering places under the name of Harrodsburg or Graham’s Springs.

‘A guest, viewing the Springs in retrospect, said of them: “The walk to the spring before breakfast was very fashionable, a long board-walk covered with tan-bark and shaded with locust trees, their branches meeting and arching overhead the whole distance.  The belles and beaux walked up and down the long portico of the hotel in what seemed to me a fair procession.  The ladies with their beautiful elaborately dressed hair in the New Orleans fashion, as from there we got the styles, and their organdy muslins, which were not then to be bought outside of New Orleans.  The envy of all were the exquisite wide embroidered collars and cuffs worn by the Southern belles.  A score of Creole beauties, prim and particular in their lovely, fleecy, muslin dresses were always present.  The ballroom at night was a scene of enchantment; old Dr. Graham, the proprietor, was the master of ceremonies and the life of the party.”’

It was said that during the summer months of 1833, when the Asiatic cholera was rampant in Kentucky, many came to the springs for healing.  ‘Dr. Graham, at Harrodsburg, announced: “These Springs are perfectly free from the cholera and they never have been otherwise,” and “the many who visited the Springs, from the various cholera districts, with the disease upon them, have all quickly recovered.”’

‘By the middle ‘40’s the watering places of the state were in their heyday.  To keep abreast of the times, Dr. Christopher Graham of Harrodsburg Springs erected an elegant and commodious hotel during the late fall of 1842 and winter of 1843.  This splendid building, costing $30,000, was acclaimed by many to the “the finest edifice in the West.”’

And this July 19, 1851, note in The Courier-Journal gives a rousing description of the dance in the Graham Springs Hotel ball room.  ‘Returning from the ball room, brilliantly illuminated by the sparkling eyes, rivaling the stars in their dazzling brilliancy, methought, if in the cool evening zephyrs that continually fanned my brown, (such were a possibility) to collect, my thoughts scattered in the whirling waltz, to the northern extremity of my brain.  Truly the poet says there’s a “magical influence in the wafted breeze;” but I am afraid (like the charming coquette) she has her favorites, for in spite of all my efforts, my thoughts continue to revert to the ball room!  What a potent charm there is in the dance, and how delightfully sounds the music!’

This popularity of ‘taking the waters’ continued into the early 1850’s.  in 1853 Dr. Graham sold the Springs to the United States Government and it was turned into a military asylum for old and disabled soldiers.

In 1856 the main building burned.  And during the Civil War the buildings that remained were used as a hospital.  After the Battle of Perryville on October 8, 1862, in Boyle County, the ballroom was used as an operating room.

But the Springs did revive in the early days of the 20th century.

The Kentucky Advocate, Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky

Friday, April 21, 1911

It will be pleasant news to the people of Central Kentucky to learn that the far-famed historical old Graham Springs will be opened as a select summer resort the coming season.  The Cassell mansion, one of the most elegant brick buildings in the Blue Grass has been converted into a choice hotel.  Old fashioned cooking will be provided and food in abundance will be supplied.  The water that pours from Old Graham Springs is the finest in the world and it is a wonder that somebody has not long ago erected a hotel there sufficient to accommodate five hundred guests.  The property is now owned by Mr. Ben C. Allin and Editor T. Sanders Orr has charge of the publicity department.  The water from these springs should be bottled and shipped throughout the country.  Reasonable rates will be made.  Many Danville people will doubtless take advantage of the fine accommodations and benefit themselves by drinking the pure water that made Harrodsburg famous sixty years ago.

This 1923 advertisement for the Graham Springs Hotel touts its ‘tennis, croquet and shady grounds, is located on a high eminence with splendid views and amid beautiful scenery.’  Perhaps this was the first of what today is known as farm-to-table – ‘its table is supplied with the best of foods, old-fashioned cooking, chicken dinners, including pure Jersey milk from our own herd, fresh vegetables and fruit from our own gardens.’

It is also a tourist manual, giving ideas for outings in the surrounding country – ‘beautiful and full of historic interest.  The roads are ideal for riding, driving and motoring and short excursions may be made to the site of the old fort, to Daniel Boone’s Cave, High Bridge, Shakertown, Perryville Battlefield and other points of interest.’

This photo was taken during those early days of the 20th century.

This is what the area looks like today.

Bowman’s Celebrate Golden Wedding in 1892

Funny that I should find the golden wedding anniversary of a couple from Mercer County in the Mount Sterling newspaper!  But then, good things are sometimes found when searching for something else!  Bellevue, home of the Bowman family, is located on Hwy 152 just outside the city of Burgin. 

The Mt. Sterling Advocate, Montgomery County, Kentucky

Tuesday, October 11, 1892

Mr. Dudley Mitchem Bowman and Mrs. Virginia Smith Bowman, of Mercer County, celebrated their ‘golden wedding’, on Thursday, September 29th, at their home, Bellevue, near Burgin.  From the Danville correspondent of the Louisville Times, we extract the following:

September 29, 1842, a large and fashionable assemblage met at Avondale, in Mercer County, the home of Abram Smith, Esq., to witness the marriage of his daughter, Virginia, then in her seventeenth year, to Dudley Mitchem Bowman, the son of a neighbor, the Hon. John Bowman.  Avondale was then, as it is now, a lovely country home, where a bounteous, graceful hospitality was dispensed, and it is interesting to know that it yet remains in the family and is none the less celebrated for perpetuating its old-time reputation.

The ceremony of fifty years ago was spoken by the Rev. Thomas Smith, one of the pioneers in Campbell and Stone’s reformation, then just beginning.  The bridesmaids were Miss Peachy Smith, now Mrs. Simeon Drake, of Chicago, and Miss Johanna Smith, a sister of the bride who married Mr. McCann.  The groomsmen were Abram Hite Bowman, brother to the groom, and Ben Campbell, yet living in Mercer County.

This marriage united two of the most widely known and respected families of the Commonwealth, names associated with the early conquest of the land from the savages and identified with its erection into an independent state.

In the colonial annals of Virginia are found their names in places of civil and military distinction.  They came from the Shenandoah Valley, in Virginia, and Zachariah Smith and Abram Bowman were among the first to make a new home in the wilderness of Kentucky; the former at ‘Ingleside’, near Danville, and Bowman in Fayette County, only a few miles further away.

A few years thereafter the estate known as ‘Bellevue’, the present town, came into the possession of John Bowman, father of the present owner, by bequest from an uncle.  John Bowman was a man or more than ordinary culture for his time, a lawyer by education and a pupil of Henry Clay.  His wife was Sarah Mitchem, of Woodford County, daughter of Dudley Mitchem, from whom have come the Woolfolk’s, Hayden’s, Bannon’s and other families well-known in Louisville, Lexington and the southwest.  Their children were the late John Bryan Bowman, for many years Regent of Kentucky University; the late Abram Hite Bowman, many of whose descendants now live in Louisville and various parts of the state, and Dudley Mitchem Bowman, the present owner of ‘Bellevue’.  It is a rarely beautiful old country home, nearly a century old and substantially built.  The arched windows and picturesque fans over the doors, beautiful hand-carved wood mantels and window frames, take one back to the architecture and house decorations of old Colonial days.  The walls are covered with portraits of the former owners and occupants of the home.  Mr. Bowman tells with justifiable pride that only Indians and Bowman’s ever owned the place.  It has been for a century the seat of a princely hospitality, and it was an interesting occasion, the celebration of a golden wedding, that brought under its roof the descendants of the pioneers of a century ago.

A notable feature of this delightful reunion was the singularly appropriate remarks of the Rev. Owsley Goodloe.  Two conspicuous figures were Uncle Louis and Aunt Caroline, former slaves, whose marriage antedated that of Mr. and Mrs. Bowman by six years.  At the wedding fifty years ago Uncle Louis had the distinction of driving the carriage and Aunt Caroline was the maid in waiting to the bride.

Owing to the death of a lovely daughter, Mrs. Caroline Bowman Ringo, the guests were limited to the family and a few intimate friends.  Among those present were:  Mrs. Mary Watters Bowman, widow of the eldest son; John Bryan and son and daughter; Mrs. Jennie Bowman Cassell ad two daughters, Dudley M. Jr., and wife, nee Mary Dunlap; Mrs. Nannie Bowman Moore and five children, and Mr. Abram Smith Bowman of Fairlawn, Lexington; Miss Nannie Smith, sister of Mrs. Bowman; Mrs. Mary D. Bowman, Mrs. John Augustus Williams, Mr. Phil B. Thompson, Rev. Strother Cook, Mr. Ben C. Allin and wife, who have been married nearly sixty-five years; Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Riker, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Bowman, Mrs. Rebecca Jones, Mr. and Mrs. James Kunniano, Mr. and Mrs. William Roland and Miss Vivion.

Mr. and Mrs. Bowman, though rapidly approaching that age which marks the evening of life, are yet hale and hearty, and give promise of being able to celebrate many more anniversaries of their marriage.

At their deaths, Dudley Mitchem Bowman and Virginia Smith Bowman were buried in Spring Hill Cemetery, Harrodsburg, Mercer County, Kentucky.

Bushrod Warren Allin Obituary


Bushrod Warren Allin, 1843-1899, Spring Hill Cemetery, Mercer County, Kentucky

from The Harrodsburg Herald, Mercer County, Kentucky

Saturday, February 4, 1899

Death of Bushrod Allin

Mr. Bushrod Warren Allin died of pneumonia, Tuesday, 5 o’clock p.m., at his home in Springs Addition.  He was confined two weeks quite ill all the time.  At first, he seemed to be afflicted with the grip; and then suffered with his old malady, asthma, and finally pneumonia succeeded.  No other man in this county was better known or more universally respected and beloved than was Bush Allin.  He was the fourth of the nine children of the late Colonel Ben C. and Mrs. Susan Warren Allin, and was born February 6, 1843.  Of his father’s family, only four survive, Messrs. Phil T. Allin, of Cleburn, Texas, and William B. Allin, of this place; Mrs. Kate Wilson, of Muncie, Indiana; and Mrs. Mollie Reichenberg, of Louisville.

He acquired a liberal education at Kentucky University, and in his early manhood, 1862, enlisted in Company E, Second Kentucky Cavalry, and gallantly and faithfully served until the close of the war.  He shirked no duty and shunned no danger.  When the Confederate Veteran Association was formed here, his old comrades in arms showed their appreciation of his soldierly conduct and the esteem and confidence they bore him by selecting him as the Captain of William Preston Camp; and he continued to hold the office of president of the association until his lamentable death.

In the autumn of 1865 he was married to Miss Lucy Hawkins, a most estimable young lady of Woodford County, who survives to mourn the loss of a most faithful and devoted husband.  Thirteen children blessed this happy union, of whom twelve are still living.  for twenty years he was deputy county clerk, under his father; and in April, 1885, was nominated by the Democratic Party as a candidate for the office of circuit clerk, and in August of that year was elected by a large majority.  Twice he was re-elected to the position, and was in the second year of his third term when the angel of death summoned him from labor to eternal rest, Thursday, forenoon.  The members of the Mercer County Bar and officers of the county and circuit courts met in the court room to take action in regard to the deceased.  The meeting was called to order and County Judge Ben F. Roach was unanimously selected as chairman and Mr. J. Newton Prather made secretary, with Mr. Owen McIntyre, reporter for the Democrat, as assistant secretary.  A committee of five on resolution was named by the chairman, who reported the following resolutions, which were passed:

Resolved – That in the death of Bush W. Allin, Clerk of the Mercer Circuit Court, on January 31, 1899, the community has lost a most excellent citizen, his family a kind and loving husband and father, the church of his choice, a true christian, the county, a faithful and efficient officer; and we, his brethren, officers of the court, a most obliging and courteous fellow-worker.  The whole body of the community sincerely mourn his death.  He was 56 years old, and had most efficiently filled the office of clerk or deputy for thirty-five years.

Resolved – That these resolutions be spread at large, on the records of the Mercer Circuit and County Courts, a copy be furnished to his family, and the same be published in each of our city papers.  Thomas C. Bell, E. H. Gaither, C. A. Hardin, John L. Forsythe, D. B. Chatham.

A resolution declaring that the members of the bar and officers of the courts would attend the funeral in a body was also unanimously passed, and the meeting adjourned.

The funeral was conducted Thursday, 2 o’clock, p.m., at the Christian Church by the pastor, Rev. Atkins, and the remains taken charge of for burial by Montgomery Lodge, I.O.O.F.  The deceased was of a noble character and lovable disposition, his home life beautiful, his official life faithful and efficient.  Affable and sociable as a friend, trustful, hopeful and meek as a Christian, he ever had the innate courage of a soldier.


Allin Family Plot, Spring Hill Cemetery

John M. Wilson – Jane B. Gill 1866 Marriage License and Certificate

This is a copy of the original marriage license and certificate located at the Mercer County Clerk’s office – another of those brittle pieces of paper!  Note the five cent stamp in the lower left-hand corner – did Mr. Daniel Young mail this to the clerk’s office?

I also bring to your attention the name of the county clerk – Ben C. Allin.  If you remember from earlier writings the very first county clerk for Mercer was Thomas Allin, who died during the cholera epidemic of 1833.  After his death Thomas’ son Philip Trapnell Allin became clerk, and after his death, Philip’s younger brother, Ben, became county clerk.  Such a family tradition!

Scan059 1Marriage License

The Commonwealth of Kentucky

To any Minister of the Gospel, or other Person legally authorized to solemnize Matrimony.

You are permitted to solemnize the Rites of Matrimony between John M. Wilson and Jane B. Gill the requirements of the law having been complied with.  Witness my signature as Clerk of Mercer County Court, this 17th day of December 1866 – Ben C. Allin, Clerk.

Marriage Certificate

This is to Certify, That on the 19th day of December, 1866, the Rites of Marriage were legally solemnized by me, between John M. Wilson and Jane B. Gill in the County of Mercer in the presence of B. Wilson and Lambert Brewer.  Signed:  Daniel P. Young.

Funeral Notices – Mercer County, Kentucky

Funeral Notices – Mercer County, Kentucky

  • Byron L. Allin died April 27, 1886, age 26. Services at Mrs. W. J. Waterfill’s by Rev. W. Y. Davis. Interment Lawrenceburg Cemetery.
  • Ben C. Allin, Sr., funeral September 28, 1895, at Harrodsburg Christian Church. Interment Spring Hill Cemetery.
  • William B. Allin funeral at residence of Bush Allin, Harrodsburg, July 25, 1900. Interment Spring Hill Cemetery.
  • Lucy H. Allin funeral at Christian Church, Harrodsburg, January 26, 1910. Interment Spring Hill Cemetery.
  • Mary B. Allin, consort of Thomas, funeral at Christian Church, Harrodsburg, August 30, 1860. Interment Spring Hill Cemetery.
  • Nancy C. Alexander funeral at Harrodsburg Baptist Church, September 28, 1888. Interment Spring Hill Cemetery.
  • Miss Keturah Alexander funeral at Harrodsburg Baptist Church, November 3, 1858. Interment at the burial ground on the farm of the late Samuel Alexander.
  • Winter S. Brewer funeral at Harrodsburg Methodist Episcopal Church, May 2, 1891. Interment Spring Hill Cemetery.
  • John H. Buford funeral at Harrodsburg Baptist Church, March 20, 1859.
  • H. Burford funeral at the family residence, Harrodsburg, May 7, 1888. Interment Spring Hill Cemetery.
  • Colonel Richard G. Burton funeral at Harrodsburg First Presbyterian Church, March 27, 1881. Interment at Perryville, Kentucky.
  • Thomas H. Buckner, infant son of Thomas H. and Louisa Buckner, from his father’s residence to Spring Hill Cemetery, May 12, 1861.
  • Martha A. Canada funeral at her home on Lexington Street, July 11, 1896. Interment Spring Hill Cemetery.
  • Creed Caldwell funeral at Harrodsburg M. E. Church South, October 8, 1892. Interment Spring Hill Cemetery.
  • Van B. Carter from the residence of his father to Spring Hill Cemetery, June 1, 1862.
  • Alonzo C. Chinn funeral at residence of his brother, Dallas Chinn, February 4, 1889. Interment Spring Hill Cemetery.
  • M. A. Cook funeral at residence of W. A. Cook, May 12, 1862. Interment Harrodsburg Cemetery.
  • Mary L. Cleveland at residence of Mrs. Emma Wood, September 6, 1890.
  • M. J. Curry, consort of D. J. Curry, at the family residence, April 13, 1862. Interment Spring Hill Cemetery.
  • Nellie Runyon Curry, youngest daughter of B. J. and E. S. Curry, at Assembly Presbyterian Church, February 8, 1886. Interment Spring Hill Cemetery.
  • John B. Daviess funeral at First Presbyterian Church, Harrodsburg, March 29, 1881. Interment Spring Hill Cemetery.

Mrs. Susan Warren Allin Obituary

from The Sayings, Harrodsburg, Mercer County, Kentucky

Saturday, May 22, 1897

Mrs. Susan Warren Allin, widow of the late Col. Ben C. Allin, died Thursday afternoon at 3 o’clock at the home of her son-in-law, Mr. George Reichenberg, of Louisville.  She was eighty-six years old last January, and spent most of her long and useful life in and near this place.  After the death of her venerable and lamented husband, September 1895, she removed to Louisville and took up abode with her daughter.  She was a life-long member of the Christian Church, a true Christian, a lady of refinement, and so amiable and affable that she was beloved by all who knew her.  She leaves five children to mourn the loss of a kind and affectionate mother – Messrs.  Ben C., Bush W. and William B. Allin, and Mrs. Kate Wilson of Muncie, Indiana, and Mrs. Mollie Reichenberg, of Louisville.  The remains were brought here for interment yesterday, and the funeral will be conducted at the Christian Church here by the pastor, Dr. C. K. Marshall, assisted by Rev. W. T. Corn, at 11 o’clock and burial will take place in Spring Hill Cemetery.